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June 21, 2013

West Point football coach arrested for public intoxication

School system conducting own investigation

CULLMAN — A Cullman County high school head football coach was arrested by Cullman Police and charged with public intoxication in the wee hours of Thursday morning.

West Point High School head football coach A.J. Lamar, who is entering his fifth year as the Warriors’ coach and teaches physical education at the school, was reportedly picked up by police after a complaint was made outside a service station regarding a man who appeared to be intoxicated. The arrest occurred at the intersection of Alabama Highway 157 and Interstate 65 at approximately 2:30 a.m.

Lamar has been placed on administrative leave by the system pending the results of the investigation. Two calls to his cell phone went straight to voice mail on Friday, and a message was not returned by deadline of this article.

Cullman Assistant Police Chief Craig Green said two officers responded to the call, and both made the determination that Lamar should be arrested and charged. A breathalyzer test was not given, though Green noted the test is not typically used for public intoxication arrests.

“Authorities determined he was in public and intoxicated, so they made the decision for his safety and the safety of others to make the arrest,” he said. “In these cases, those decisions are based on demeanor, and qualities like slurred speech, glassy eyes and stability, which are typical of someone intoxicated.”

Cullman County Board of Education Superintendent Billy Coleman couldn’t comment on the specifics of the case for privacy reasons, but said the system is conducting its own investigation into the matter.

He did note that in cases such as this, the system will conduct a thorough investigation separate from the police to determine what, if any, action needs to be taken.

“In general, if there is a legal situation out with an employee, we want to investigate it and make sure we’re aware of all the facts surrounding it,” he said. “We want to make sure we do our due diligence and act appropriately. Depending on the facts, there are a wide range of consequences in situations like this. Obviously, our main goal is to do what’s best for our students.”

Before coaching at West Point, Lamar was a standout football player at the University of North Alabama and helped lead the Lions to three straight national titles as a fullback.

Times’ Sports Editor Rob Ketcham contributed to this report.

‰ Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at trentm@cullmantimes.com, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.

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