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Rhodes out at Southwest after legal woes

Benjamin Rhodes' run as Southwest Tennessee Community College's head men's basketball coach turned out to be a short one.

A guilty plea this week (Oct. 18) in federal court has led to Rhodes' firing as coach and his removal from the Athletic Director's position.

On Friday, Southwest issued this statement:

CoachBenjaminRhodes"Mr. Benjamin Rhodes was appointed Interim Athletic Director and Head Men's Basketball Coach July 1, 2012 after serving as Assistant to Coach Verties Sails, Jr. for nineteen years. In light of Mr. Rhodes' plea in the Federal Courts, President Nathan Essex has stated that Mr. Rhodes has been terminated at Southwest Tennessee Community College."

Rhodes did not contest the charge that he cashed the government checks of tenants in his rental property after they had died.

It was unclear on Friday how the duties of Southwest's athletic director and head men's basketball coach would be handled going forward.

Contacted later, Robert Miller, Southwest's Executive Director of Communications and Marketing, said, "At this point, we cannot make any further comment other than the released media information attached. As soon as additional details are available, we'll certainly contact you."

In the early '80s, Rhodes enjoyed a successful career at then-Shelby State Community College before moving on to play two years at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, where he earned all-district and all-conference honors. He was an assistant to the legendary Sails for 19 years.

The Saluqis begin their season Nov. 8. In an interview recently with The New Tri-State Defender, Rhodes said, "I think we have good players and I think together we can be a great team."

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