Former Spring Valley coach to be reinstated to coaching gig in s - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Former Spring Valley coach to be reinstated to coaching gig in spring

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

A former Spring Valley assistant football coach will be back on the coaching field in the spring after he made his case Tuesday night to the Richland Two School Board.

Two months ago, Mike Armstrong, lost his coaching job and he's been fighting ever since to get back on the field with his team.

The board voted to reinstate Armstrong's coaching job next semester. This means in the spring, he'll stay at Blythewood, but after school he'll be coaching at Spring Valley.

"I miss my players," said Armstrong. "I miss the smell of the grass. I miss the Friday night lights. That's what's exciting about the fall."

Armstrong has spent 22 years as a football coach. He spent part of Tuesday night trying to convince the Richland Two School Board to put him back on the sidelines at Spring Valley High School.

"I miss it terribly," said Armstrong. "Blythewood Middle School is a fine school with fine people and fine teachers, but it's not what I'm wired for."

In June, a fight broke out between two football players during a weight room workout.

"You can usually tell when a fight's about to happen because there's pushing, fighting, pointing fingers, threatening, chest bumping. But this one, I didn't see it coming," said Armstrong.

Three weeks later, Armstrong was asked to resign.    

"They said I did not do enough to stop the incident," Armstrong said. "I guess it was for what I did not say. I didn't say stop, don't do that or whatever. It happened so quickly that I didn't feel like I had the ability to stop it."

When he refused to resign, the district moved him to a different school. More than 1,300 former students and parents want him back.

"Sometimes you come home and tell your wife, 'I don't think I'm making a difference in the kids lives.' These were the very kids that were writing those wonderful comments."

They signed an online petition, filling it with how much Armstrong pushed them to be better players and people.

"Maybe God let this happen for a reason. He said, 'Wake up! I told you, you were helping those kids.' Sometimes it's got to get your attention. You gotta be poked," said Armstrong.

Copyright 2012 WIS. All rights reserved.

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