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Lee County Superintendent Announces Resignation

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SANFORD, N.C. — Lee County Schools Superintendent Barry Aycock announced his resignation Friday during a closed-door meeting with the Lee County School Board.

Aycock will resign July 1 after two years as superintendent.

"A superintendent has difficulty moving a school system forward when he doesn't have the full support of the board," he said after emerging from the meeting. "I have been unable to achieve that in my tenure. So, I'm going to give this board an opportunity to hire another superintendent."

Friday's meeting had been called to discuss a football controversy that split the community and took another turn Thursday night.

Thursday night, the board had overturned Aycock's decision to replace Charlie Groves as Lee County High School's football coach. No one has said why Groves was removed in the first place.

"That is protected by personnel regulations," Aycock said. "I can't talk about it."

Aycock previously had cited lack of community support as his reason for reassigning Groves to another position in February -- even though Groves' team had a winning record over his six seasons.

Groves' supporters suggested that Groves was a victim of politics and that a group of parents dissatisfied with their kids' playing time pressured Aycock to reassign him.

The school board met Friday morning to decide whether it would release specific information about the effort to oust Groves. By the time the meeting had ended around 1 p.m., the board ruled that no details of Groves' reassignment and reinstatement will be made public and voted unanimously to accept Aycock's resignation.

Board members said they did not pressure Aycock to resign.

"Absolutely not," board member Jim Womack said. "We did not force him out."

After finding out he could coach again Thursday night, Groves appeared overcome with emotion and relief, according to WRAL reporter Paul LaGrone.

"You just don't believe what the last nine weeks have been like for me and my wife and my family," Groves said. "It's really been tough. But, you know, like they say: 'This, too, shall pass.' And it has, and everything has worked out for the best."

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