High school football coach fired for holding baptism service for 20 of his players after a practice: ‘Religious coercion’

A Georgia high school football coach was fired after he held a baptism service for 20 of his players on school grounds last month, according to a report.

The superintendent of Tattnall County High School announced coach Isaac Ferrell’s firing after a video uploaded to the team’s official Facebook page showed players being baptized in a tub by a local pastor.

Footage shows Pastor Gary Few directing players individually to sit in a large black tub of water before saying to them, “I baptize you now, my brother, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

The pastor then ducks their heads under the water while surrounding players cheer in support.

The Oct. 23 incident outraged some community members, eventually leading one to inform a group called The Freedom from Religion Foundation.

High school football coach Isaac Ferrell was fired after conducting a baptism service for his players after a practice.

The foundation proclaims itself as a “state/church watchdog promoting the constitutional principle of separation of state and church,” according to their website.

They claim Ferrell was in the act of “abusing his position” and committed a “constitutional violation,” an article on their website reads.

“We write to request that the District investigate this situation and ensure that this school-sponsored religious coercion ends immediately,” an attorney for the foundation, Chris Line, wrote to superintendent Kristen Waters on Nov. 1. “All coaches and staff should be instructed regarding their obligations as public school employees.”

The pastor is seen ducking a player’s head under the water while surrounding players cheer in support.

“The district must refrain from infusing its football program with religion, and Coach Ferrell cannot be allowed to preach to student-athletes or allow a local pastor to preach to and baptize students,” Line added.

The superintendent, however, claimed Ferrell’s firing stemmed from an isolated situation after a Nov. 3 football game and not the baptism.

“Based on the outcome of an investigation into an incident that occurred Friday night, Nov. 3 while traveling after the football game, the District decided that it would seek a Head football coach that aligned with the best interests of the students,” Waters announced.

Community members were shocked and upset at the head coach for having a local pastor baptize the players.

“As to any other allegations, the District does not comment during ongoing investigations,” the statement continued.

Ferrell, who also teaches at the school, is still able to keep his job at Tattnall County — but an investigation into the baptism service is still underway, Waters said.

Some parents on the team stuck up for Ferrell, a former Georgia Southern football player, and commended him for baptizing their sons.

The superintendent announced Isaac Ferrell’s firing was the result of an isolated situation after a Nov. 3 football game — not the baptism.

One parent said she was “extremely proud” of her son, saying it was what her child “wanted to do.”

“I was extremely proud of him because he made the decision on his own. I didn’t have to hold his hand, and he did it because he wanted to,” Latifa Johnson told News 3.

“It was so sweet because you see the boys and they looked like they wanted it,” Johnson went on. “You know, like everyone looked excited, from the ones I was able to see. So was cheering thank you, God. Yes, yes, yes. I was all for it.”

Others on Facebook seemed to be in support of the questionable baptism service as well.

 “That coach is changing lives.. not just winning games!” a comment read.

“Now that’s what I am talking about!!! Congratulations young men! You just made the best decision of your lives! Hallelujah!!!! Glory to God!!!!!” another reply read.