Accusations of steroid trafficking by Mid-South coach leave parents and students shocked

Parents and students shocked by arrest of Mid-South couch for trafficking steroids

PARAGOULD, Ark. (WMC) - A Mid-South football coach is off the job after police say he had large amounts of steroids shipped to his house.

Parents and students here in Gosnell say they are shocked and stunned by the arrest of the high school’s assistant football coach. And everyone WMC talked with Tuesday described him as a great guy.

“Shocked, I was shocked. I never thought that coach that would happen," said Gosnell High Senior, Connor Hyde.

Hyde says Dex Gardner taught him for two years and was very popular.

“They’re shocked too, all the kids in the class, they were talking about how they couldn’t believe that, how it didn’t seem right for coach, cause he’s such a nice guy," said Hyde.

Gardner was a teacher and defensive coach for the Gosnell High Pirates. He was arrested Friday in Paragould after a tip from U.S. Customs and Border Protection that it had seized a shipment of 1,800 grams of steroids and testosterone at Gardner’s home.

Investigators also found two loaded syringes, hydrocodone, foil bags and shipping labels and containers.

Gosnell High 9th grader, Don Willing, plays football for the pirates.

“He was my favorite coach," said Willing.

He says everyone seemed to like Gardner who is said to have a lot of energy and is always smiling.

“Among the football players, I think he was definitely one of our favorite coaches,” said Willing.

School officials say there is no indication the drugs ever made it into Gosnell High or to any of the students. Something Jr. High student, Rylee Chambers, says she was told.

“A lot of people in junior high are talking about it," said Chambers.

Connor Hyde said Gardner told the class he had been lifting weights his whole life and used to be a boxer. We found video on Gardner’s Facebook page of him lifting weights.

Hyde’s grandmother, Dee Oliver, told me she had no idea about the charges against Gardner.

“I’m very shocked. I’m surprised. I’m very surprised," she said.

Gardner bonded out of the Greene County Jail on Monday. School officials tell me Gardner is on administrative leave with pay while the case is being investigated.

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