McGinley Offers Fired Academic Magnet Coach His Job Back Effective Thursday

Amanda Kerr and Jeff Hartsell, Post and Courier, October 22, 2014

After firing him Monday, Charleston County schools Superintendent Nancy McGinley offered Academic Magnet High School football coach Bud Walpole his job back Wednesday. The reversal came after two tumultuous days of intense scrutiny over the school district’s decision to fire the longtime coach for his team’s postgame watermelon ritual.

McGinley and Walpole met Wednesday afternoon and, according to McGinley’s statement, the coach acknowledged that his team’s tradition of smashing watermelons as part of a postgame victory celebration “could be viewed in a negative way.”

“He agreed that we will work together on increasing diversity awareness for students and the community,” McGinley said.

As part of the district’s job offer, the statement said that Walpole was required to provide a “written statement of commitment” to teach students to better respect the differences of others; attend any sensitivity training sessions offered by the school district; and to counsel his players before games to be “extra vigilant in their actions when dealing with others of different racial or ethnic backgrounds.”

“I would like to invite our community to join together with me and Coach Walpole to use this as a teachable moment for the benefit of our children,” McGinley said in the statement.

Walpole has accepted McGinley’s offer, said attorney Dwayne Green, a family friend who has been advising the coach.

“He’s very happy, relieved and excited to get back to coaching,” Green said.

Raptor players were just as happy to have their coach back.

“All day, the only thing the whole student body could think about was coach Walpole and getting him back and making everything right,” said Adam Ackerman, a senior. “I think it would be good for us, because we knew we lost something big when we lost coach Walpole. He led the team, and his main point every day was to do our job. We did our job to get him back and I think he’ll be proud of us.”

The players learned of Walpole’s return just after practice. The Raptors are 6-2 this season and in the midst of one of the best seasons in school history.


The district dismissed Walpole from his coaching duties Monday following an investigation last week into allegations the team had been participating in a “watermelon ritual with students making monkey sounds” as part of a post-game celebration.

McGinley at a news conference Tuesday said players told two school district representatives that following a victory, the team would stand in a circle chanting and smash a watermelon with a caricature face drawn on the fruit with black marker. Several of the watermelons were named Bonds-Wilson, McGinley said, which is a reference to the high school’s location in North Charleston. The Bonds-Wilson Campus pays tribute to a historically black school previously on that site.

School Board member Michael Miller reported the team’s tradition to the school district on Oct. 13. He raised concerns about the racial overtones of the tradition after hearing from a parent of a Military Magnet Academy student who was offended by the ritual, which the team performed following its defeat of Military Magnet on Sept. 5.

Miller, on Tuesday, called Walpole’s removal as coach a “fair outcome,” saying that the coach’s decision to allow the team to practice a “racially insensitive” ritual was an “error in judgment.”


The Charleston Branch of the NAACP, whose members came out in support of Walpole’s firing, issued a statement Wednesday calling the team’s tradition “inappropriate and racially insensitive.” The group likened the students’ actions to an overwhelmingly black football team urinating and stomping on the Confederate flag as a victory ritual.

“All of the elements of the ritual reflect familiar and insulting stereotypes about African-Americans,” the group’s statement said.


Von Bakanic, associate professor of sociology at the College of Charleston, said it’s also important to consider whether the stereotype that associates race with watermelons is one that is relevant to teens today.

“Cultural stereotypes change over time,” Bakanic said. “People may or may not be aware of the stereotypes that were there for their generation, and they don’t mean the same things, not only to people based on their age, but also every person is interpreting things from a different standpoint.

“To take anything about watermelon and say it is racist is responding to the stereotype rather than the melon itself,” Bakanic said. “Anything can be perceived in any way anyone chooses to.”


Support for Walpole’s reinstatement was almost immediate. Academic Magnet junior defensive end Darius Nwokike, the only African-American player on the Raptors’ roster, started a petition on the website Monday asking the Charleston County School District to reinstate his coach. By Wednesday evening, the petition had more than 4,000 signatures, nearly doubling from the day before.


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  • propagandaoftruth

    See…every so often a White man must be chosen randomly. Sure, it may be for some trumped up paranoid delusion, but the essential point is that the White man be publicly smeared and humiliated, have his livelihood ripped away, and then be forced to debase himself if he is to be taken back.

    This is how AA farces protect their posteriors and destroy their enemies. The White Lottery…

  • Oil Can Harry

    The football coach used to perform standup comedy under the stage name Gallagher.

    • Ron Cheaters

      Beat me to it

    • Alexandra1973

      Gallagher is nuts. LOL

  • This is a function of the law of diminishing marginal returns applied to the black civil wrongs movement. They’ve been so successful on the big things that, in order to stay alive and keep the donations rolling in, they have to focus on “microaggressions” like smashing watermelons.

    • Oil Can Harry

      I’m planning a boycott against rock band Smashing Pumpkins because they’re disrespecting Halloween.

      • Or you could have come to St. Louis last week and actually smashed pumpkins with the white fellow travelers of the handsupdontshoot crowd. That actually happened.

      • awb

        Maybe they could smash some cracker’s? Saltine’s?

  • MekongDelta69

    From now on, I think the whole team should eat a bucket of fried chicken after every win (and loss… and tie)…

    • bilderbuster

      What’s wrong with Chick Filet?
      It’s better chicken and you can kill two birds with one meal so to speak.

    • Ron Cheaters

      Or use it to bribe the other teams

  • Rhialto

    I’ve posted this before, but I’ve never observed a Black buying or eating watermelon. I’m sure watermelons were popular with Blacks before the invention of Junk food, but not today.

    Now if this were a KFC ritual with the players screaming “MF this su’ eat good”, the Liberals/Blacks would have a valid complaint.

    • TruthBeTold

      Go to youtube and search: Worlds fastest eating of watermelon 10 seconds Breslau Ont at BANC

    • bilderbuster

      They don’t buy them.
      They steal them straight off the vine.

  • LHathaway

    “we will work together on increasing diversity awareness”

    But not if that means a white student group, white history awareness, sensitivity to whites or their concerns, or contact with a white version of the NAACP. Because That wouldn’t be outreach, tolerance, or sensitivity. Equal tolerance or consideration for whites (and at all it would seem) would be considered vile hatred, not something in any way teachable that the students could learn from such as a watermelon incident. Even in North Carolina diversity awareness does not mean we become aware of whites in any way but in fact push down even further white racial consciousness.

    • John

      An increase in “diversity awareness” amongst the white population at large would actually be a good thing. Their weapons purchases would skyrocket along with applications for CCW.

  • The coach groveled to get his job back. He shouldn’t have done that. And the NAACP’s comparison of a watermelon to the Confederate flag deserves to be mocked and ridiculed for the stupid kind of thinking that blacks ALWAYS exhibit.

    • bilderbuster

      I have to wonder sometimes if Whites like him aren’t targeted for things like this.
      Instead of getting angry and suing, the Whites almost always behave like “good sports” and just roll over.

      • lily-white

        yes… did you notice that every party that made a comment in this article gave you the impression that all that mattered was putting the winning coach back to work “at whatever cost”… an admission of guilt was what was required along with future Marxist indoctrination sealed the deal… you have to give the writer of this garbage credit for setting the tone of “judge, jury and executioner”…

    • me

      Waddy-mellon be raaaycis’, yo! Trigger warning….

  • RacialRay

    Coach Walpole has been ‘reprogrammed’ and will forever forward be ‘diversity sensitive’.

    Your man card, coach. Hand it over, NOW.

    • lily-white

      never was much of a question as to the skin tone of coach Walpole…

  • Kit Ingoldby

    So melons are racist? Anything else to add to the list?

  • bilderbuster

    Maybe so, but patronizing Chick Filet causes a certain odd sector of the population to get their knickers in a knot.
    Knowing that gives me some cheap thrills to dine there from time to time 🙂

  • archer

    Worthy of note, there is nothing about teams urinating on the Confederate flag and how that might insult others and cause them harm.

  • IstvanIN

    I don’t understand why smashing watermelons is a tradition, sounds more like a waste of watermelon to me, but the nonetheless why was this rascist? Because they were watermelons? White folks eat watermelon. I simply don’t get this.

  • propagandaoftruth

    You should consider this as your avatar.


  • MBlanc46

    If the watermelon business really was about blacks, the coach probably deserved to be fired for stupidity. If not, the NAACP and all the other race hustlers should be prosecuted for slander.

  • Diana Moon Glampers

    She’s resigning!!!
    Yay SC!