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Rockwall-Heath hires new football coach after multiple players hospitalized with rhabdo

Rodney Webb previously coached at Rockwall and Denton Guyer high schools.

HEATH, Texas — Rockwall-Heath High School, whose football program has been under scrutiny following the hospitalization of multiple players due to an illness, has found its next head coach.

Rockwall ISD on Monday announced that Rodney Webb will be the new head football coach after approval from the school board.

Webb is a familiar face within the district as he previously coached Rockwall High School for seven seasons from 2013 to 2019. He then coached two seasons at Denton Guyer High school, where he led the program to the state championship game in 2021.

His most recent post was as the athletics director at Highland Park ISD.

"I am excited for the opportunity to return to Rockwall ISD, where the talent runs deep on both sides of I-30. At one time, I lived in Heath for 13 years and still have family and friends there, so I know how deeply they care for kids and are passionate about a winning culture," Webb said in a statement. "Rockwall-Heath High School has many winning programs led by dedicated coaches. I look forward to joining them, becoming a part of the community and wearing the red and black proudly."

The announcement of Rockwall-Heath's newest football coach comes three weeks after now-former head coach John Harrell resigned following an investigation into multiple players being diagnosed and hospitalized with rhabdomyolysis.

The school's football program came under fire after players fell ill following a workout on Jan. 6, 2023. Parents reported to WFAA that students did hundreds of push-ups that day.

A third-party investigation was launched. That investigation, according to the district, confirmed that the affected players were diagnosed with rhabdo. The illness is a severe breakdown of muscle tissue that releases a damaging protein into the bloodstream. In serious cases, it can be fatal or cause permanent damage.

"The investigators found sufficient evidence existed to support a finding that the offseason workout plan was implemented in a way that negatively affected the physical health of some student football athletes at Rockwall-Heath High School in violation of Rockwall ISD Board Policy," Rockwall ISD athletics director Russ Reeves said in the letter to parents.

The district added that it would also implement recommendations made by the third-party investigators to avoid further incidents, such as hiring a specialist to work with coaches in designing workout plans, reviewing offseason workout plans and providing training on the dangers of rhabdo.

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