Independence High School football coach Richard Russo, a Burnsville native, has been removed from his coaching role for violating a school district rule.

Russo was told by the Tate County School Board on Monday that he would no longer be head coach, effective immediately. He remains employed at the school.

The Wildcats (7-4) are traveling to Amory (8-3) on Friday for a Class 3A first-round playoff game. Offensive coordinator Kris Clanton will act as head coach for the remainder of Independence’s season.

In a text to the Daily Journal, Russo said he did “nothing illegal or unethical. Just unknowingly broke a district rule. I take full responsibility.”

Russo was in his seventh season at Independence, which is making its sixth playoff appearance since his arrival. He had a record of 39-44.

“It’s all good,” he said. “God has a plan for me.”

The Tishomingo County grad was an assistant at Bruce from 2001-05, then head coach at North Delta School from 2006-07.

After serving as Water Valley’s defensive coordinator for five years, Russo took over an Independence program that was coming off back-to-back 0-11 seasons and took the Wildcats to the playoffs in his first year.

Twitter: @bradlocke

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