Hibriten coach resigns after arrest

Charged with giving alcohol to students
May. 21, 2014 @ 08:10 AM

A wrestling coach at Hibriten High School resigned Tuesday, 14 hours after he was arrested and charged with giving alcohol to students last fall.

Joshua Dale Woodruff, 32, of Woodsway Lane in Lenoir was accused of providing the alcohol at his house between Oct. 18 and Nov. 9, according to the arrest warrant. He was charged with three counts of giving malt beverage or unfortified wine to a person under 21. He was released after posting $6,000 secured bond. He is scheduled to have a court hearing July 7.

Woodruff was the school's varsity wrestling coach and assisted with the track team. He had been employed at Hibriten since 2009, and assisted school administrators with students having disciplinary issues. Woodruff also drove a school bus, and at one time served as an exceptional children's assistant. Woodruff was hired at William Lenoir Middle School in 2005 as an alternative classroom teacher and alternative classroom teacher assistant.

Police investigated after receiving what Capt. Brent Phelps called "community complaints" soon after the police department and Caldwell County Schools launched a campaign to discourage underage drinking. Earlier this month, 35 posters were put up around Hibriten encouraging anyone who is aware of adults giving underage persons alcohol to notify authorities. The posters even offered cash rewards for information.

Police Chief Scott Brown and Superintendent Steve Stone issued statements against underage drinking.

"This type of behavior is unacceptable by anyone," Brown said. "We have adopted a zero-tolerance policy, and will work diligently with the Caldwell County School system and community to protect the safety of our students. We encourage anyone to report any allegations of underage drinking, and those who provide alcohol to our youths."

Stone said, "No adult should ever provide alcohol to young people in any circumstance, whether in the comforts of their own home or in public."

The arrest surprised Joe Davis, who lives across the street from Woodruff and has known him for about five years.

"He has a young son. I am shocked to hear," Davis said. "He's one of the good guys."