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Hamilton High searching for new football coach amid hazing scandal

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PHOENIX — Hamilton High School, in the midst of a hazing investigation involving sexual assault claims made against members of its varsity football team, is on the hunt for a new coach.

The Chandler Unified School District posted a job description for the school’s varsity football coach on Monday.

The ideal candidate will possess successful experience coaching football at the high school level and/or have been a competitive football player, flexible schedule and excellent communication skills,” the description read. 

The position will be open until Dec. 22. The salary range could be anywhere from $3,438 to $3,863.

According to Terry Locke, a spokesperson with the school district, school officials notified former head coach Steve Belles, who was reassigned within the district amid the hazing investigation, that they would be “moving forward in everyone’s best interest.”

“Dick Baniszewski, who did a remarkable job as acting head coach for the 2017 season, will be able to focus on his position as assistant principal at Hamilton High,” the statement read.

The school has been engulfed in a massive hazing investigation for nearly a year.

Allegations surfaced in February that several members of Hamilton’s varsity football team subjected as many as 11 victims to alleged attacks  — referred to by players as “initiations” — including sexual assault.

The crimes were allegedly committed between September 2015 and January 2017 on school grounds. Police said they first learned of them in February.

Police have interviewed more than 110 people in the case so far.

Several Hamilton players were under investigation after the allegations surfaced. Six players were arrested but only three have been charged by police.

One 17-year-old has been charged as an adult with sexual assault, kidnapping and aggravated assault. Two 16-year-olds were charged as juveniles with kidnapping, aggravated assault and assault.

Belles and principal Ken James were both recommended for child abuse and duty to report child abuse charges in late July. Both are felonies.

Amanda Jacinto, a spokeswoman for the county prosecutor’s office in metro Phoenix, said the agency is reviewing the recommendation by investigators to charge James, Rustad and Belles.

“A charging decision has not been made in this case, but we are still encouraging anyone with information to come forward to investigators,” Jacinto said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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