Scott Guttery will be coaching basketball again in Lee County. Just not within the Lee County School District.
Less than 24 after resigning from his “dream job” at Fort Myers High, Guttery, 38, found a landing spot at Evangelical Christian School. Jeff Blair, the school’s Director of Development, announced the hire Wednesday.
“I think it’s a great opportunity,” said Guttery, who will coach the Sentinels boys basketball team and serve as the Director of Sports Management and Basketball Operations. “ECS has been established as a great school and had a lot of success in different sports throughout the years. I feel like (John Hunte), the headmaster over there, has given me a chance to come in and, hopefully, build upon what’s already there. I’m very excited about it.
“I still very much have a passion for coaching and mentoring kids. I get a chance to do that over there. And I don’t have to work at the (Lee County) School District to do that anymore.”
Guttery, a Bishop Verot graduate who coached and taught at Fort Myers for 10 years, spent 49 days on paid administrative leave after a hard foul on a student May 4 during an open gym.
After the Lee County Sheriff’s Office closed the case into the incident calling it “unfounded” and he was reinstated to his coaching job by the district on June 22, Guttery spoke out a school board meeting calling the treatment of teachers and coaches unfair in these type of incidents where they are considered “guilty until proven innocent” by the district.
“That’s part of being in a government system,” Guttery said. “Unfortunately, with a system as big as our school district, it just becomes a bureaucracy. There tends to be too many people wanting to cover their own back. I’m excited about working in my field in the private sector.”
The school district issued a statement regarding Guttery’s resignation through spokesperson Lauren Stillwell Tuesday night.
Stillwell said the district follows a process in every case of employee misconduct to ensure compliance with board policies, statutory requirements and the employee’s due process rights.
She confirmed the district’s investigation was concluded and a written reprimand was placed in Guttery’s personnel file concerning the incident.
“While we are disappointed Mr. Guttery feels it necessary to vacate his position, the facts support our decision,” Stillwell said. “The bottom line is that it is our responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of our students.
“We wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Blair praised Guttery, who won a state title in 2010 with the Green Wave, and welcomed him to the Sentinel family.
“Scott’s passion for impacting the lives of kids, his obvious leadership qualities and his desire to play a significant role in our school’s growth aligns perfectly with our ongoing strategy for ECS in our community,” Blair said.
“We count it an honor and a blessing to have the Guttery family join our Sentinel family.”
ECS is coming off a 7-19 season and has won just 21 games the last three years with its last winning campaign coming in 2014.
While Guttery puts more of an emphasis on building character, he said his expectations are high and hopes to be competing on a state level within the next three years.
“God has a way of working things out and providing you with a new opportunity amidst the trials,” Guttery said. “ … This was something that was really presented to me directly from God. And it’s nice to be able to talk about that and embrace it.”