G.C. Softball Coach Fired, Alleged to Have Stolen From Students

Panama City, FL---Those who follow Gulf Coast softball are dealing with the fallout of the dismissal of veteran Gulf Coast softball head coach Susan Painter.

The school's Board deciding not to renew the contracts of coach Painter, and assistant coach Ryann Ellingsworth Thursday.

Essentially they've been fired amidst an investigation coach Painter's been stealing money from her own student athletes!

Gulf Coast turned it's internal investigation over to the Sheriff's office, which has been looking into the matter since Monday.

The Sheriff's Office Incident report states coach Painter took money from the college to cover all plane tickets for a team trip to Vegas, then asked the players to pay a portion of those tickets.

It also states Painter asked players on full scholarships to pay part of their own rent back to the coach.

Efforts to reach coach Painter were unsuccessful, I did speak this afternoon though with outgoing G-C president Dr. Jim Kerley who says he can't dispute the allegations made in the Sheriff's Office report.

Dr. Kerley says he's shocked by all this, knowing coach Painter was not only one of the winningest juco coaches in the country, but from his perspective, well respected in coaching circles. She'd been at Gulf Coast since '93 with nearly 900 wins, and three state championships.

Kerly told me he's surprised to know these kind of things can happen either because the proper process wasn't followed, or the process is bad.

He's very disappointed for the student athletes whom he says have handled this very well, staying upbeat while finishing out the season..

Dr. Kerley says the college will do everything it can to take corrective action, and will work to make the students whole, even to the point of financial restitution, adding he hopes the college can also get paid back what it's owed.