Joe Kennedy, the Bremerton High School football coach who lost his job in 2015 for praying on the field after games, has accepted a nearly $2 million settlement from the case he won at the Supreme Court.
The Bremerton School Board approved the $1,775,000 settlement for Kennedy’s attorney fees in a vote Thursday, the Seattle Times reports.
This comes days after Kennedy was officially reinstated as an assistant football coach at the Washington State high school where he first started his post-game prayer in 2008.
Kennedy, represented by First Liberty Institute, won his Supreme Court case last year in a 6-3 decision that said his post-game 50-yard-line prayers were protected by the Constitution.
The school district in Washington released the statement, according to the local news.
Mr. Kennedy will be an assistant football coach for Bremerton High School for the 2023 season. Mr. Kennedy has completed human resources paperwork and we are awaiting the results of his fingerprinting and background check. Mr. Kennedy will need to complete all training required by WIAA. Football coach contracts are approved by the Board at the August 3, 2023 board meeting, and begin in mid-August. As with any other assistant coach, Mr. Kennedy will be included in coaching staff communication and meetings, spring football practice and other off-season football activities.
Hiram Sasser, Executive General Counsel at First Liberty Institute, celebrated Kennedy’s rehiring in a statement.
“We are thrilled that Bremerton and Coach Kennedy are back together and we hope they go undefeated,” Sasser said.
National radio host Todd Starnes, who was the first media personality to cover Kennedy’s story, also cheered for Kennedy.
“Congratulations, Coach Joe Kennedy!” Starnes said.
Kennedy is set to begin in mid-August after the school board approves the contracts at an Aug. 3 meeting, KIRO 7 reports.
Lower courts for years had repeatedly sided with the Bremerton School District in the case. Kennedy said his routine typically lasted less than a minute and he insisted his prayers were brief, private, individual acts of faith.
The school district argued that student participation breached constitutional prohibitions against the promotion of religion by government officials.