Another controversy over a television “reality” show, this one hitting close to home.
The girls’ head basketball coach at Christiansburg High School resigned Wednesday and the Montgomery County Public School system fired his assistant over the purchase of a souvenir bottle of legal moonshine tied to a reality TV show during a school-sponsored trip for the team to play in a South Carolina invitational tournament.
School officials told Dallas St. Clair to resign or be fired. He quit Wednesday. Assistant Pete Hudson was fired by mail on Thursday. The letter, written on Jan. 7, said Hudson “was no longer employed” by the high school.
Hudaon and his wife, Missy, apparently are fans of the Discovery Channel “reality” show “Moonshiners,” so they decided to stop on the way home from the tournament to buy a legal souvenir bottle of show star Tim Smith’s “Climax” moonshine from a liquor store in in South Carolina.
The store was found at a shopping center along the road, which also included a discount store where some team members shopped by Hudson and his wife went into the liquor store and bought the bottle of “Climax,” which Smith calls “the drink of defiance” on his show. His shine is now sold legally in some states. Virginia sells “legal” shine in its ABC stores, including the product of legendary Junior Johnson, but “Climas” is not yet on the shelves in the Old Dominion.
The Hudsons put the bottle of moonshine in the trunk of their car, driven by Missy Hudson. She was following a two vans carrying the players driven by St. Clair and Hudson.
Montgomery County school officials won’t comment on the case and cited a section of the county’s coaches handbook which says:
While supervising students, set a good example of conduct by refraining from using tobacco products, alcohol, or inappropriate language while at and away from school and by acting in a professional manner.
Some Chistiansburg High School basketball parents apparently felt that because the girls on the team knew that the stop was made to purchase the bottle of moonshine, it set a bad example for the teenagers and violated the rule.
Team Captain Tara McCoy told The Roanoke Times that she and other team members knew the Hudsons were going into the liquor store to buy the moonshine but said the liquor was never seen or in the presence of players.
McCoy said head coach St. Clair also knew about the stop and told the players about it but added that “they did no harm. They didn’t drink. We didn’t drink and the alcohol was not in our cars.”
Some school officials, however, felt that even stopping to buy booze on a school trip was inappropriate and required action.
St. Clair and Hudson were suspended last Friday and a scheduled game with Christiansburg was postponed.
The firings has sparked a lot of debate in and around Christiansburg with some saying the action was not justified because the trip was paid for by supporters of the team and not the school system and others saying the coaches showed bad judgment by stopping at a liquor store and deserved punishment for poor judgment.
“Climax,” the name of the shine, comes from Climax, Virginia, hometown of Smith’s hometown and, according to legend, where he used to make the illegal hooch.
The fact that the reality show glorifies the illegal and tawdry past of moonshining, which is also part of Floyd County’s history, is what upset some parents and school officials. They feel that stopping to buy a bottle of shine, even a legal one, was not something a high school coach should do on a school trip.