Community rallies behind Corinth Holders coach
Posted April 6, 2012 5:07 p.m. EDT
Updated April 7, 2012 7:42 a.m. EDT
Wendell, N.C. — About 50 teens, parents, friends and family gathered in Clayton Friday evening to demonstrate their confidence in a Corinth Holders High School coach and teacher.
They wore buttons bearing the face of James Joseph McNamara II and gave accounts of their relationships with him. All said they want to send a message to leaders in the Johnston County schools: "Coach Mac" is not capable of the crime he stands accused of.
McNamara, 25, is suspended from his duties as teacher and wrestling coach, and he faces a charge of taking indecent liberties with a 16-year-old girl. Investigators say the alleged incident happened off school grounds.
Since his arrest, those who know McNamara have repeatedly spoken out in his defense.
"Every one of the kids plus the parents will say, to a person, he's never said an off-color remark. He does things the right way," said parent Mike Grindstaff. "We all recognize it and we believe in our hearts, there's no way this accusation is true."
"Coach Mac has done a lot for all of us," student Charlie Gray said. "He's helped me in the classroom, on the wrestling mat, football field. He's helped me become a better athlete, a better student, a better man in general."
McNamara, who has been with Johnston County Schools for two years, is out of jail on a $5,000 bond. He adamantly denies the claims, and his family says that he is still trying to figure out what exactly the accusations are.
At Friday's rally, Bruce Gray read a letter from McNamara to those who marched for him. "There've been moments in this fight that I've felt weary and unsure of how I can continue to fight," he wrote. "It's you that have given me the strength to fight this fight."
Friday evening's rally was the second major show of support for McNamara. About 20 students on the Corinth Holders High wrestling team, as well as some of their parents, came to his initial court appearance last week.