Ex-Newberry coach sentenced for sideline incident

The state attorney's office filed charges against Geronnie Rollins (walking front left) following his ejection from a Newberry at Union County football game on Oct. 29, 2021, in Lake Butler.
Geronnie Rollins (walking front left) received his sentence on Tuesday stemming from his ejection during a Newberry at Union County football game on Oct. 29, 2021, in Lake Butler that to his detainment by law enforcement. (File photo by C.J. Gish)

An Archer man ejected from the sidelines of a Newberry-Union County 2021 football game in Lake Butler and detained by law enforcement received a 30-day jail sentence on Tuesday.

The incident came as part of a contentious night on Oct. 29, 2021, during which Union County dominated Newberry on the field. Referees had called personal foul penalties on both teams, then in the closing seconds of the third quarter ejected volunteer coach Geronnie Rollins from the Newberry sideline. According to a Union County Sheriff’s Office (UCSO) warrant affidavit, Rollins refused to leave the field. 

At the time, the coach’s name was not available to Mainstreet Daily News, but in April both the Union County Sheriff’s Office (UCSO) and Rollins’ defense attorney, Bill Sikes, confirmed his identity.

Last Thursday, a jury found Rollins guilty for charges of trespassing on grounds or facilities of a school after warning, resisting an officer without violence and for interfering with an educational institution.

According to the Union County Clerk of Courts Office in Lake Butler, Rollins’ 30-day jail sentence was suspended on the condition that he serve six months on probation, take an anger management course, pay court costs and fees, and perform 50 hours of community service. If he fails to fulfill any of these conditions, he will serve 30 days in jail.

The affidavit presented the incident as described by UCSO deputies Travis Rimes and Andrew Johnson, who were summoned to the Newberry sideline due to a disturbance.

“The man in all black needs to leave the field,” multiple referees and a member of the Newberry coaching staff told the deputies, according to the affidavit.

The man wearing all black clothing was Rollins, whom one referee said had been ejected from the game and refused to leave, according to the affidavit.

“I approached Geronnie, Geronnie was yelling ‘[Expletive] that, I am not leaving!’” Johnson wrote in his affidavit statement. “Geronnie was ordered several times to exit the sidelines, to which he continued yelling profanities. At this time, Deputy Rimes grabbed Geronnie by his left arm in an attempt to escort him off the sidelines, to which Geronnie snatched away stating, ‘Don’t put your [profanity] hands on me [profanity]!’”

According to Johnson, “at that point force became necessary to bring Geronnie into compliance with the lawful orders given by the deputies. He grabbed Geronnie’s upper torso area and redirected him to the ground.”

Johnson and Rimes handcuffed Rollins and escorted him to a nearby patrol vehicle, where he eventually was released to then-Alachua Police Chief Chad Scott, who was at the game.

UCSO filed charges with the Eighth Judicial Circuit for Union County in November 2021.

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Aimee Yarborough

After reading this article it appears this event was blown out of proportion. This type of incidence isn’t uncommon at football games (HS, NCAA, NFL) throughout USA. The only difference is that most places don’t waste tax payers dollars to pursue a conviction for such a petty offense. Not sure where Union County is located but for this to make the daily news it’s obvious this will be the talk of Mayberry (Andy Griffith Show) for years to come.