Two members of the public, one of them an assistant coach, spoke on behalf of dismissed Northeastern High School football volunteer Tony Sawyer at Monday’s school board meeting.

Sawyer, whose service as a volunteer was discontinued in the wake of a background check several months ago, told the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Board of Education at its regular meeting Monday night that he wants to know specifics of why his service was discontinued so that he can work with an attorney to have items expunged from his record.

“I want to find out what they’re holding over my head,” Sawyer said during the public comment portion of Monday’s school board meeting.

He said he has been trying to get information from the district for eight months.

Sawyer said he wants the district to put in writing what it found out about his background that caused school officials to decide his services as a volunteer were no longer needed. He also asked the board to give him a fair chance to return to the NHS football team.

Sawyer noted that his service with the NHS Eagles has always been as a volunteer. He said he isn’t seeking money.

Monday’s appearance was the second time Sawyer has made an appeal to the school board during public comment at a meeting.


Businessman and school supporter Rick Durren spoke on Sawyer’s behalf.

“He is very passionate about the Northeastern football team, as you can tell,” Durren said.

Durren said he has known Sawyer for 25 years and he has been the ball man for the team for 17 years.

“He has always been professional in attitude and appearance,” Durren said.

Shawn Tolson, an assistant coach, said he has known Sawyer since they were in high school together.

Tolson asked the board to be transparent with Sawyer.