(FOX40.COM) — With the high school football season kicking off Friday, it looks like one Sacramento-area school will take the field without its head coach.
On Aug. 4, Reggie Harris was suspended as head coach of the Inderkum High football program in Natomas. Harris is still employed by the Natomas Unifed School District as a teacher at Inderkum.
It has been nearly two weeks since Harris has been suspended and Inderkum High football players and parents are asking for his reinstatement.
Several players showed up to the district’s school board meeting on Wednesday in their Tigers jerseys and t-shirts.
“It is important to have coach Harris back because he’s not only a role model but a father figure for some of my brothers that are on the football team,” one player said during public comment at Wednesday’s meeting.
A petition online has been another effort amongst the community to reinstate Harris as Inderkum’s football coach. The petition has received more than 700 hundred signatures.
“Not only did I improve as a player, but I’ve improved as a person because of coach harris and I would really like to have coach Harris back and have that support for my last year,” Inderkum High senior Edn Yanez told FOX40.com.
In a message to FOX40.com by principal J. Scott Pitts, there isn’t much detail that goes into why Harris is suspended. The Sacramento Bee reported that Harris’ suspension is “tied to finances raised through football.”
One of the player’s mothers told FOX40.com that Harris allowed the team to fundraise for more gear outside of what’s provided by the school for pregame warm ups and “spirit packs.”
Parents and players told FOX40.com the fundraisers are something the team does before every season.
Harris’ suspension came days before the Inderkum Tigers were scheduled to scrimmage against Rocklin High School.
“We would like to know what the reason is for our coach being suspended,” Yanez said. “We didn’t really know what was going to go on. If we were still going to have that scrimmage or how our football season was going to look like.”
Following Harris’ suspension, Inderkum athletic director Justin Reber was named the program’s interim head coach. The rest of coaching staff has also remain the same after the coaching change.
“Athletic Director Justin Reber, who has been helping with coaching, will continue to provide support to the team/program, and will lead the coaches in continuing to build momentum moving into the season,” the principal’s message reads.”
On Friday night, the Tigers kickoff a season with lofty expectations, but they’ll have to play without their lead play caller on the sideline.
Inderkum is facing Del Oro High School at home in their season opener.