Embattled Medina Valley athletic director accuses community members of slander

CASTROVILLE, TX – The athletic director and head football coach of Medina Valley Independent School District pushed back against allegations of erratic behavior and bullying, accusing several people in the community of slander in letters sent by his attorney.

In January, residents presented a list of complaints against Lee Crisp to Medina Valley Independent School District officials. Community members accused Crisp of refusing to let a player ride home with the team after a game in Lockhart, making fun of the starting quarterback’s lisp in practice and appearing to be intoxicated at multiple school events.

Crisp contends “irreparable harm” has been done to his reputation in the months following the public complaints, which have been brought up frequently at district board meetings by parents and members of the Medina Valley community.

“Your comments, messages, and particular mischaracterizations about Lee’s actions, his occupation, or history comprised a direct and false attack upon his character and his reputation, and although untrue, have already caused harm to the reputation and have slandered the good name and faith of Mr. Crisp, causing irreparable harm to his personal reputation and to his family relationships,” the letter states.

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Crisp’s attorney, Patrick Hundley, confirmed via telephone Tuesday that several people in the community were sent letters from his law office earlier in April demanding that they stop making false or derogatory statements about the coach.

The letters were sent specifically to people who have been most vocal about the allegations, including Oh and Jeremy Rash, parents of the starting quarterback who was allegedly mocked by Crisp.

Oh (left) and Jeremy (right) Rash claim their son was bullied by athletic director and head football coach Lee Crisp last fall. (KSAT)

Hundley said Tuesday that the incident was blown out of proportion by assistant coaches at odds with Crisp and that he believes the teen himself did not think anything of the alleged incident.

Regarding the Lockhart episode, where Crisp is accused of refusing to let a player ride home on the team bus, Hundley said the player had been engaging in misbehavior. Crisp arranged to have him ride back to campus in a district-related vehicle before the parents of another student-athlete eventually provided the teen a ride, his attorney said. Hundley said the decision was made in the best interest of the child.

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Hundley, who called Crisp a “man of high integrity,” said allegations that his client was intoxicated at school functions have perplexed Crisp, who contends he has no idea what the community members are talking about.

“He’s not coming to games drunk. He’s not walking around the community drunk,” said Hundley.

A KSAT 12 Defenders investigation in February confirmed that Crisp was promoted to his high-ranking positions in 2019 despite previously failing a state drug screening, which was among the complaints lodged by parents. A follow-up investigation last month raised even more questions about Crisp’s tenure, after a former MVISD bus driver said she was forced to resign after failing a drug screening.

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Despite the existence of records confirming the failed drug screening, a district spokeswoman earlier this year called the complaints against Crisp “rumors or unsubstantiated allegations.”

Hundley said Tuesday Crisp’s failed drug test came at the time of his hiring by the district in August 2017 and that he has passed all drug screenings since then. Hundley added that Crisp does not drive student-athletes on district buses due to a medical condition, and not because of the failed screening.

Hundley added that Crisp intends to stay at his post for as long as the district will have him. His letter states that Crisp could pursue a civil lawsuit against members of the community for libel, slander, intentional infliction of emotional distress and harassment.

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