BREAKING: Pine Tree ISD Board of Trustees to Discuss Settlement + Possible Resignation of Athletic Director Derek Fitzhenry
The Pine Tree ISD Board of Trustees will hold a special session at 3 p.m. Friday for consultation with the district's attorney regarding a settlement agreement and to discuss the possible resignation of athletic director Derek Fitzhenry.
It is unclear whether Fitzhenry's possible resignation includes his dual role as head football coach. The announcement was posted around 3:45 p.m. on PTISD's website under the "Board of Trustees" tab and "Meeting Agendas" subcategory.
Originally, the board decided to call a special session for 5 p.m. Monday "regarding personnel."
Fitzhenry has come under fire over the last month.
The district put Fitzhenry on administrative leave Sept. 5, only to “conditionally reinstate” him Sept. 10, the day after a school board meeting that spanned near six hours with no immediate action taken. The conditions of Fitzhenry’s reinstatement were not disclosed at that time and still have not been disclosed.
Fitzhenry’s early September administrative leave stemmed from an alleged incident that occurred during halftime of Pine Tree’s season-opening 42-38 win against Van.
An athletic handbook policy change that allowed a senior football player to play despite a May felony arrest caused the latest executive session-heavy board meeting.
According to KLTV 7, the Pine Tree High School Athletic Handbook rule regarding eligibility of players charged with a felony was changed Oct. 2 without administrative approval to allow them to play as long as that player pled not guilty or a formal hearing had taken place. The player in question then played in Pine Tree’s 45-14 loss to Nacogdoches on Oct. 4, and the policy was changed back Oct. 8 to its original verbiage flatly prohibiting recipients of felony charges from participating in athletic events.
Complicating the issue of Friday's special session is Pine Tree's game at Hallsville, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Offensive coordinator Derrick Hennigan served as PT's acting head coach during Fitzhenry's administrative leave, which included the Pirates' 64-49 win against Center on Sept. 6.