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Travis Olinger works with Whitwell's offensive line last August. Olinger was head coach of the Tigers last season after being a defensive assistant on the 2018 team that won the Class 1A state title, but he has been fired after going 3-9 in his lone year in charge. / Staff photo by Robin Rudd

Updated with more information at 9:35 p.m. on Feb. 5, 2020.

After just one season, Travis Olinger has been relieved of his duties as head football coach at Whitwell High School.

Olinger was informed Wednesday morning by school principal Teena Casseday and has met with the football team to inform players of the decision.

"I did not step down," Olinger said. "I want to make that clear. I was relieved of my coaching duties, and from what I was told, I believe it was for no other reason besides just wins and losses. I was told by Principal Casseday that she was getting outside pressure to make a change in the program. It's really frustrating, but that's football and you take your lumps.

"I was asked to step down, and when I refused to do that, I was told that I was being fired. I was hoping to have the support of the school, the community and the parents to keep working with the program, but obviously that's not the case. I still intend to fight for my job and plan to talk to the central office to see if there's something that can be done, because I don't want to leave the program or the kids."

Multiple messages from the Times Free Press to Casseday seeking comment were not returned Wednesday evening.

"Coach Olinger stepped up when we needed him to this past season, and I certainly appreciate the effort, but the Whitwell administration wanted to go in a different direction," Marion County schools superintendent Mark Griffith said.

Olinger, who was a defensive assistant on the program's staff in 2018 when the Tigers won the Class 1A state title, was promoted to head coach last March. Whitwell's next head coach would become the program's 10th in the past 16 years.

After the graduation of several key starters from the previous season and a string of injuries, the Tigers finished 3-9 in 2019 but did reach the second round of the Class 1A playoffs after upsetting previously unbeaten Monterey in the first round.

Olinger, a 1994 East Ridge graduate, began his coaching career at his alma mater, where he spent 11 seasons before joining the Whitwell staff prior to the 2018 season.

Contact Stephen Hargis at shargis@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.

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