Phoenix HS coach allegedly shared information with opponents
Sep 17, 2019, 1:22 PM | Updated: 9:56 pm
(Facebook Photo/Mountain Pointe High School)
PHOENIX – Authorities at a Phoenix high school said they were “shocked” to recently learn that a coach allegedly had been sharing inside information about the football and boys basketball teams with opponents for years.
Justin Hager had been the varsity girls basketball coach and an assistant coach for the football team at Mountain Pointe High School, which is located in Phoenix’s Ahwatukee area and is part of the Tempe Union High School District.
According to Wednesday’s agenda for the district’s Governing Board meeting, Hager resigned effective Sept. 13 in lieu of dismissal.
The district said Monday in a press release it has evidence that the coach had been sharing “protected information about formations, game plans, signals and player eligibility with opposing coaches” since 2017.
That information gave opponents a competitive edge, according to the release.
David Hinojosa, a Mountain Pointe parent and booster for the school’s sports teams, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes on Tuesday that parents met Monday night to discuss the situation.
“There was a lot of frustration, anger, bitterness, but at the same time they are encouraged because of the administration and how they are handling it,” Hinojosa said.
He said some of the parents are considering taking legal action against Hager for putting the school’s players at a disadvantage.
They also are upset that no opposing coaches reported that the information was being shared until the football team faced a Las Vegas high school, Faith Lutheran, last month, Hinojosa said.
“I am at a loss as to why someone would hurt kids in this way,” Rich Wellbrock, the school’s head football coach, said in the release.
“The entire coaching staff at Mountain Pointe is deeply troubled that a trusted adult in our program would actively work against the success of our students.”
Mountain Pointe Principal Tomika Banks was equally dismayed.
“Our entire campus is shocked at these findings. It is the responsibility of all adults on a high school campus to act with integrity and to put students first in all we do,” Banks said in the release.
“Mountain Pointe students, families and staff are heartbroken to learn our trust was violated by someone we cared for and considered a member of our family.”
District Superintendent Dr. Kevin Mendivil said the incident has been reported to the Arizona Interscholastic Association and the school will cooperate with any investigation.
“Furthermore, the actions of one person is not representative of this school or our district, and we believe this should serve as a call to action for every adult in a leadership role with students to recommit to acting with integrity, whether in the classroom or on the field of competition,” Mendivil said in the release.