TAMPA — One of Tampa Bay’s top girls basketball coaches was arrested on charges of sexual misconduct with a student, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Reginald Jamal Lawrence, 48, was arrested Tuesday and charged with six counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor student as an authority figure, a first-degree felony. Lawrence, also a “student success coach” on the guidance staff at Tampa Bay Tech, is known as “Coach Reggie,” according to the high school’s website.
Lawrence engaged in sexual activity with the student at his home, which is listed in Ruskin, on six occasions between April 1 and June 30 of 2016, according to a Sheriff’s Office arrest report. The minor was a student at the school and has since graduated, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The student’s age at the time is redacted from the report obtained from the Hillsborough County Clerk of Court.
On July 2 of this year, a sheriff’s detective heard a conversation between Lawrence and the student in which the coach acknowledged the sexual encounters.
“The defendant also indicated he had no concerns with them being caught,” the report states.
In an interview with a detective on Tuesday, Lawrence denied sexual activity with the student, according to the report. Investigators obtained a warrant for Lawrence’s arrest and took him into custody later that day at the Orient Road Jail, records show.
He remained in jail Wednesday afternoon with bail set at $90,000, records show.
Lawrence is on administrative leave pending his termination and will not be returning to campus, said Tanya Arja, a spokeswoman for the Hillsborough County School District.
“We are shocked and deeply troubled by these charges,” Arja said in a statement “Our parents expected this individual to protect their children and he broke that trust.”
Lawrence has worked for the district since 1999 and does not have any previous complaints or investigations against him, Arja said.
Lawrence has been the head coach at Tampa Bay Tech since the 2009-10 school year, taking the Titan girls basketball team to five straight playoff appearances, including the school’s first state championship, in 2019. He had just one losing season during that time period, with an overall record of 197-87.
Tampa Bay Tech, founded as Tampa Bay Vocational Technical School in 1969, offers a number of technology programs on a campus resembling a community college. Enrollment is about 2,100. Students must apply for admission.