Former Strength and Conditioning coach terminated following harassment claim

Ian Leonard and Jozsef Papp

When Tyson Summers was officially named Georgia Southern head football coach on Dec. 26, 2015, it looked like the program was headed in the right direction under his new staff.

As the program began competition the team looked promising, but will finish with a disappointing record on Saturday following a season riddled with injuries and a tough schedule. However, the trouble in the program may have started before the season even began.

When Summers was hired, he handpicked his entire staff, from offensive and defensive coordinators, all the way to director of strength and conditioning.

Tredell K. Dorsey, Summers’s choice for GS director of strength and conditioning, worked with the football program, until Aug. 21, 2016, when Dorsey was terminated for violating the GS harassment policy, according to the termination documents in his personnel file.

Before coming to GS, Dorsey was the former associate director of strength and conditioning at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Both Dorsey and Summers worked together during Summers’s tenure with the football program at UCF.

While at UCF, Dorsey worked along Ed Ellis, the current associate director of strength and conditioning at UGA, and Scott Sinclair, the current director of strength and conditioning at UGA, all of which Coach Summers praised heavily.

“They really want to make each guy a better football player, not necessarily with the greatest bench press in the world,” Summers told Savannah Morning News in February. “They do a great job of creating strength, bulk, speed and explosion, but they really try to get a team to buy into the philosophy of team and hard work is going to pay off.”

Dorsey feels he was wrongfully terminated by the university and is currently appealing the termination and expects “to be found to not have violated” any of the infractions that Dorsey is accused of, according to his attorney.

Although the type of harassment was not specified, the implications behind Dorsey’s hiring are more far reaching than it would appear at first glance.

Background & History

In May 2007, while employed at Georgia State University as the head strength and conditioning coach, Dorsey was arrested on battery and simple battery charges.

Dorsey and his wife were exercising on the track of Fayette County High School, when he shoved a woman to the ground in an apparent bout of rage, according to an incident report from the Fayetteville Police Department.

According to Dorsey, the victim tried to shove his wife out of the way. However, Dorsey ultimately agreed to a pre-trial intervention which placed him on six-months probation, requiring he pay the victim a restitution fee and that he complete an anger management course, according to the court documents.

Following the completion of those requirements, the case was dismissed.

According to Demetrius Bynes, director of employment services here at GS, all employees are subject to a background check, meaning the university was likely aware of Dorsey’s past.

Hiring Process at GS

Although this may be just one example of Dorsey’s history, this kind of behavior would be a breach of the GS harassment policy and would call into question Dorsey’s compatibility with GS’ employee standards.

The Department of Human Resources has a number of policies in place concerning hiring. Whenever a position is vacated, the department head alerts Employment Services and the hiring process can begin.

“Once [a vacancy notification] reaches Human Resources, we have very deadline-driven standards about how many days the position should be posted and going from there,” Bynes said.

According to this policy, there may have been some discrepancies when Dorsey was hired by the university in January.

Within Dorsey’s personnel file is a letter he sent to Summers congratulating him on his new head coach position and a formal request for consideration for the strength and conditioning job.

The letter however, is dated Jan. 10, a full six days after Dorsey was formally offered the position.

Dorsey received his official offer of employment from the university on Jan. 4 and was introduced on Jan. 6 in a press conference held by Summers.

In addition to this, the resume included in Dorsey’s file is dated Jan. 11, seven days after his supposed hiring.

Although Human Resources helps with the hiring, the main responsibility of the hiring process rests with the department. In this case, that is the GS Athletic Department.

“Once the [application] closes, the department and their supervisor are responsible for reviewing the applicants and determining who should be interviewed. Then they conduct the interviews,” Bynes said.

After interviews are completed with some structured questions from Human Resources, the department provides Human Resources with all the information they gathered, so Human Resources can review the documentation and approve the offer, according to Bynes.

No response or explanation from the Athletics Department was received regarding the timeline of Dorsey’s hiring and the way the hiring was processed.

When asked to comment on whether the Athletics Department was aware of Dorsey’s past transgressions, Director Tom Kleinlein declined to answer. 

* Taisha White, Tandra Smith, Blakeley Bartee and Casey Cargle also contributed to this report.