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Suspension of Alabama prep baseball coach overturned

February 6, 2022 GMT

PHENIX CITY, Ala. (AP) — A well-known high school baseball coach from Alabama has had his suspension overturned.

Russell County High School coach Tony Rasmus had appealed to the state Department of Education after the county Board of Education in October suspended him until June. Rasmus was convicted of harassment against a player who accused the coach of choking him.

Former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Terry Butts served as the hearing officer for Rasmus’ appeal and ruled in favor of the coach, the Ledger-Enquirer reported.

“This means that the suspension has been reversed and set aside,” Jim McKoon, the coach’s attorney, told the newspaper in an email, adding that they will be asking for Rasmus to be allowed to return to work.

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Russell County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bellamy handed Rasmus another victory when he reduced the fine in the harassment case from $500 to $50. He also struck court costs and decreased a payment to the Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Commission from $100 to $25.

“The alleged victim in this case suffered no visible injury,” McKoon said, “and if you will recall went right back to playing baseball within a few minutes of the alleged incident.”

Rasmus was convicted in June of third-degree assault in the confrontation last February. But a circuit court jury in October overturned that verdict and convicted him of the lesser offense of harassment.

In the email to the newspaper, Rasmus thanked Butts “for looking at what the evidence was and him not being worried about doing favors for friends. The truth mattered in his courtroom.”

He said he’s in a “holding pattern” with the decision on whether he can get back to coaching in the hands of the county school board.

Rasmus won a state championship at Russell County in 2005 and coached a Phenix City team to the 1999 U.S. championship and runner-up finish in the Little League World Series. Three of his four sons played professional baseball.