Former Northside Coach Burt Torrence admits taking money for work he didn't do

By Rob Manch - Reporter
Former Northside High School football coach Burt Torrence admitted to the Roanoke County School Board he accepted money for several years for work he wasn't doing.

ROANOKE COUNTY (WSLS 10) - Former Northside High School football coach Burt Torrence admitted to the Roanoke County School Board he accepted money for several years for work he wasn't doing.

Funds that were supposed to be going to the track team were instead going to Torrence personally and the football program.

"My time at Northside as the head football coach is gone, and I accept that," said Torrence in a stunning revelation at the Roanoke County School Board meeting Thursday night.

Torrence is a two-time state champion coach, but admitted having a contract to be both a track and football coach, though he only coached football.

"To a fault I'm going to tell you the truth," said Torrence. "I accepted four years ago a track stipend to work for a new track coach, outdoor track coach at Northside High School... If the board would like to collect those 4 years of where I did not in the eyes of many, uphold the responsibilities of a contract by Roanoke County, again it will take me a little time to do so," said Torrence.

Some people in the audience were brought to tears, seeing their football coach and mentor admit his wrongdoing.

Many still don't want to see him go.

"None of us are perfect, we all make mistakes, and I for one forgive him, and would welcome him back with open arms as my son's coach any time," said Dale Russell, whose son plays for Northside's football team.

The victims of the situation also wanted to be heard.

Coaches A.T. Willis and David Cabbler say they always suspected they weren't being treated fairly.

"I was a coach over at Northside, myself and coach Cabbler, and being told there's no stipend, we're going to look out for you, there's no stipend, we're going to look out for you, only to find out 4 or 5 years later Coach Torrence has been signing off as the track coach and taking the stipends," said Willis.

"We did the best with what we had, and in the light of it coming out, I mean we definitely could have used those resources," said Cabbler.

Resources Cabbler says would have let more students who wanted to, participate in track.

"I was brought into a meeting and just basically told it was all about football," said Cabbler.

"We have the issue of all the athletes that want to run track, but we have no funds for that because they've been taken for the football team," said Willis.

Torrence says to win back the confidence of his football family, and the ones he hurt, he's wants to work to fix what he's done.

"I believe that contract is for 19 hundred dollars... I'll be happy to pay that back," said Torrence.

The board has not said if it will want Torrence to pay back that money, or and has not yet established any timeline he will have to do so.

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