Central wins after football coach receives hate letter

Rockets beat Hoover (Ala.) 24-21

By Christina Vazquez - Reporter

MIAMI - The Central Rockets won at Hoover (Ala.) a day after the Rockets had to deal with more than just football.

Central head coach Roland Smith received an anonymous letter from a Hoover fan that included racist insults towards the team.

The Rockets beat  the Hoover Buccaneers 24-21 on Saturday in a nationally-televised game featuring two of the top high school teams in the country.

The letter, which was postmarked in Birmingham, Alabama, was received by Smith earlier in the week.

In an interview with The Herald, Smith said the letter was disturbing, but he's keeping the team's focus on the game.

Deputy superintendent of Miami-Dade Public Schools police, Valtena Brown, released a statement to Local 10 News on Friday saying in part "It is shameful and disconcerting that a letter containing racial slurs would be used against our children.  Miami-Dade Schools Police investigators are working alongside Hoover Police Department to vigorously investigate this incident. The Hoover Police Department will provide security during their stay.  Meanwhile, our school district is working with Hoover City Schools to minimize any distractions and to allow student athletes to concentrate on their game."

Brown added that the letter, while "racially charged did not contain threats."

The Hoover Police Department also spoke to Local 10 News on Friday.

"As a city of Hoover employee for 25 years, I can vouch for the passion and pride that Hoover residents have about the athletic programs," Capt. Gregg Rector told Local 10 News. "But this type of behavior is not typical nor have I heard of this type (of) behavior before."

Richter added that his department would do everything it can to trace the origin of the letter if it did come from the Hoover area.

The Hoover High Athletics Department also released a statement saying "As we get closer to tomorrow's game, we are aware of the disturbing letter sent to the staff at Miami Central.  Police continue to trace the letter's origins as part of their investigation.  In the meantime, our focus remains on preparations for Saturday's matchup."

Copyright 2014 by Local10.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.