Posted: 2:38 pm Monday, January 10th, 2011

Can Waides Ashmon fix what ails Fort Pierce Westwood? 

By Matt Porter

Waides Ashmon resigned as Fort Pierce Westwood coach last summer after a second round of misconduct allegations. He was cleared of any wrongdoing by the state. Now the Westwood job is open again.

Ashmon

Ashmon

After the school fired Rodrick Lawson following a 9-1 season, Ashmon tells TCPalm’s Ray McNulty he wants another shot. Ashmon won 18 games in two seasons as Panthers coach, before resigning in the wake of the allegations (more on that here).

In his column, McNulty builds his case for Ashmon:

And for those who didn’t know: The Florida Department of Education investigated the allegations made against Ashmon and, just before Christmas, cleared him of any wrongdoing.

Which wasn’t surprising.

The validity of the first round of allegations — made by a couple of grudge-bearing cowards upset with Ashmon for removing them from his staff — was shaky from the start.

But will the state’s finding be enough to put him in the discussion for the job? Certainly, it’s something for Hamilton to consider. And so is this: Ashmon still lives in St. Lucie County and remains popular within the Westwood community, especially with his former players.

“I love Westwood. I love the kids. I love the community,” said Ashmon, who is currently unemployed. “I’d jump at the chance to coach there again. Westwood was my dream job.

“I never wanted to leave. The only reason I left was because, in my heart, I felt it was the best thing for the kids. It was the only way to let the situation work itself out and not have it hanging over the kids’ heads going into the season. There were people who, for whatever reasons, were going to keep making allegations. They weren’t going to let me do my job.”

The column speaks to the pressure all high school coaches, especially those in football, feel from the community. There will be plenty of pressure on the next Westwood coach, who will inherit a team that loses its best playmaker, rising senior quarterback Travares Copeland (transferring to Treasure Coast).

Ashmon showed he can win, but would his rehire cause the voices that helped push him out to grow even louder? It’ll be interesting to see. Westwood says it will take applications until Jan. 15.