Shortly after he was fired in late October, Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep football coach Mark Nolan sent a letter to azcentral sports in which he portrayed himself as a victim regarding the summer football class that landed the program on probation.
“The false accusations against me which have arisen in connection with these matters have irreparably harmed the reputation I have built over the past 22 years as a coach and teacher,” Nolan wrote. Continuing, he said, “I want people to know that at all times I have worked diligently to do the right thing in good faith and with honest and transparent intention.”
Two agenda items for the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s executive board meeting Jan. 17 seem to contradict that statement. The board will discuss two alleged violations, of which it states, “The individual directly responsible for the above-state violations, Mark Nolan, is no longer Head Coach of the Notre Dame Preparatory football team and is no longer employed by Notre Dame Preparatory.”
The first violation says that in December 2015, Nolan made an unannounced visit to the home of a transferring football player, at which time he made “inappropriate offers of assistance to the family as an inducement to keep the player from leaving the school.”
The agenda item says none of the parties present would cooperate with the investigation, but that school officials obtained other information that corroborate the allegations.
The second violation states that Nolan tried to recruit an eighth-grade student to attend and play football at Notre Dame. Notre Dame officials interviewed the father of the student and concluded “the former coach’s actions violated AIA Article 220.127.116.11,” which deals in part with contact with junior high or middle school students.
Nolan did not respond to an email request asking for comment.
AIA Executive Director Harold Slemmer said he couldn’t comment on the alleged violations because they involve school personnel. But he said because Nolan was fired and James Gmelich resigned as Notre Dame’s president, it’s “unlikely” the board will tack on any additional penalties to the probation that made Notre Dame ineligible for the playoffs this past season.
The items are on the agenda because Notre Dame completed its investigation and submitted its report to the AIA.