Former Louisiana Coach Mark Hudspeth Under Investigation
When Mark Hudspeth was head coach for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's Ragin' Cajuns football team his rallying cry was "Don't let go of the rope". Investigators in Alabama are now looking into the possibility that Hudspeth might have just given himself enough rope to figuratively "hang his coaching career" out to dry.
Since being dismissed from the top job at UL in 2017 Hudspeth has made stops at Mississippi State University where he was an assistant coach and Austin Peay University where he was hired as head coach.
Hudspeth left Mississippi State for Austin Peay after the 2018 season. He then resigned as head coach for The Governors in 2019. Hudspeth was in the midst of a 20-day suspension for unacceptable conduct and violations of his employment agreement when he tendered his resignation.
In 2021 Hudspeth took over the head coaching job at Gulf Shores High School in Gulf Shores Alabama. The school currently is ranked number one in its classification in that state. However, the Gulf Shores program could soon be under investigation by the Alabama High School Athletic Association in the very near future.
Mobile, Alabama TV Station WKRG is reporting that a Gulf Shores-based fitness company, Gulf Shores Athletics, was actually paying rent for multiple families whose children play on the Gulf Shores Dolphins football team. Many of these families have been identified as "student-athlete-transfers" to the Gulf Shores area.
The alleged agreement and alleged improprieties were spotlighted in the WKRG report that suggested the entire arrangement came to light when Gulf Coast Athletics quit making monthly payments to the apartments where the students and their families were allegedly housed. The apartment complex filed suit against Gulf Coast Athletics for more than $20,000.
The exclusive report from WKRG correspondent Simone Eli has details of specifics concerning the apartments. Who was responsible for paying for them, and, who was occupying the apartments?
It's these court documents and the allegations that accompany them are the reasons the AHSAA is taking a deeper dive into the situation. If Gulf Shores is found to have used ineligible players it could forfeit some or all of its eight wins on the current season.
Investigators hope to be able to make a ruling in regard to the allegations before the high school football playoffs begin in Alabama. Those games are scheduled to begin on November 10th. The top-ranked team from Gulf Shores under Coach Hudspeth still has two more games remaining in their regular season.
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Gallery Credit: Bruce Mikells