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KHSAA Football Coach Arrested
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KHSAA Football Coach Arrested

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Lovelace accused of failing to make required disposition of over $10,000.00

Former HFC at Christian County High School Arrested

Presently DC at Paducah Tilghman

Christian County Public Schools making ‘no comment’ 

Well known and highly successful high school football coach, and former Christian County “Colonel” head man, Steve Lovelace, surrendered himself on an indictment handed down by Christian County’s Grand Jury this past Friday. One of the charges listed in the indictment was theft by failure to make required disposition over $10,000.00.

This allegation appears to stem from accusations Lovelace had either inappropriately dealt with some money or his having failed to properly account for an amount of money intended for the high school where he was employed. The other charge alleges money was diverted to his own use which was intended to go to Christian County's High School Football Booster Club/Quarterback Club.

The amount in question, at least regarding the more serious of the two counts in the indictment, is believed to exceed $10,000.00. The exact amounts, between the two counts, weren't listed in the indictment.  

The case is styled Commonwealth vs. Steven Frame Lovelace. It has been assigned Docket No. 21-CR-00373.

It appears from the indictment the offenses occurred between the dates of January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2020. The indictment contains two separate counts.

In one count, Lovelace is accused of Theft by Failure to Make Required Disposition of Property over $500 but less than $10,000.00. He is accused of converting over $500 in funds/checks which were the property of the Christian County High School Football Booster Club/Quarterback Club to his own personal use, with the intent to benefit himself or another.

The charge in this count of the indictment is a Class D Felony. The possible sentencing range for such an offense, in Kentucky, is a prison term of not less than a year nor more than five (5) years.

The second count of the indictment alleges Coach Lovelace, over the same period of time, unlawfully converted funds over $10,000.00 which were the property of Christian County High School to his own person use, with the intent to benefit himself or another. This charge's material elements are below set forth.

According to Kentucky Revised Statues (KRS) §514.070 and under (1)(a)(b) of that statute, a person is guilty of this offense when the person obtains property upon agreement or subject to a known legal obligation to make specified payment or other disposition whether from such property or its proceeds or from his own property to be reserved in equivalent amount. The accused must intentionally deal with the property as his own and must fail to make the required payment or disposition when required. 

Under (3)(a)(b) of the same statute, an employee of the government, which a county school system’s employee would certainly qualify as being, is presumed to know any legal obligation relevant to his criminal liability under KRS §514.070; and to have dealt with the property as his own under two specific scenarios. First, the defendant fails to account or pay upon lawful demand; or secondly, an audit reveals a shortage or falsification of accounts.

Under KRS §514.070(4)(b), theft by failure to make a required disposition of property received is a Class C Felony in Kentucky when the amount in question equals or exceeds $10,000.00. According to online research conducted by the newspaper, a Class C Felony in Kentucky carries a possible prison sentence of not less than five (5) nor more than ten (10) years.

Bail was set in the amount of $18,000.00. It is unknown whether Coach Lovelace has hired a lawyer to represent him concerning these charges. Coach Lovelace has been released upon posting the money requisite to securing his appearance in court for subsequent proceedings.

Coach Lovelace stepped away from a Christian County football program, as its Head Football Coach and Athletics Director, in March of 2021. Approximately a month after stepping down at CCHS, Lovelace accepted a job on the Paducah Tilghman football staff as its Defensive Coordinator.

Lovelace was 100-67 in 14-seasons as the Head Football Coach at Christian County (5A, District 2). Only Coach Dan Goble won more games at the Colonels’ helm. 

Lovelace was the 2008 Kentucky Coach of the Year after leading the Colonels to the Class 5A state title game. The Colonels returned to the title game in 2010. The Colonels lost both times to Highlands.

The Colonels football program’s fortunes have soured considerably the last three seasons under Lovelace. After going 11-1 in 2017, the Colonels were 4-7 in 2018, and 0-11 in 2019, enduring the program’s first winless season since 1971. Christian County opened a COVID-shortened 2020 season with a win over Madisonville North-Hopkins before losing its final five games.

Lovelace was a 1988 graduate of Mayfield High School. He was an assistant coach for ten years at Hopkinsville and then moved over to Christian County as an assistant for two seasons before being elevated to the top spot at CCHS in 2007.

We contacted Christian County Public Schools (Board of Education) seeking comment on the matter. We were advised CCPS would have no comment regarding any of the matters underpinning the indictment.

People are reminded one charged with an offense is presumed to be innocent. This presumption remains until such time as he either pleads guilty to the offense, or, upon a plea of not guilty, a jury of his peers can be sworn and impaneled and the matter tried until a verdict is reached.

Proof of the commission of a criminal offense sufficient to support a conviction has to be beyond a reasonable doubt. The accused is entitled, by law, to be presumed innocent of any charges until such time as the matter can be joined for trial and the jury retires to deliberate its verdict. All people accused of crimes are both afforded and entitled to an opportunity to confront the government’s case. 

Note: Mr. Long is an award-winning Kentucky journalist recognized for excellence in both writing and reporting by the Kentucky Press Association.

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