Sayreville football coaches suspended as teachers

Sayreville War Memorial head football coach George Najjar finally spoke on the hazing scandal for the first time Saturday, but offered little insight into his own involvement or future — MyCentralJersey.com photo

Sayreville football coaches suspended as teachers

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Sayreville football coaches suspended as teachers

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Sayreville head football coach George Najjar and four of his assistants, all of whom are employed as educators in the district, have been suspended with pay from their teaching and coaching positions, according to a source who spoke on condition of anonymity to Gannett partner mycentraljersey.com.

Sayreville Board of Education President Kevin Ciak, reached on his cell phone Saturday night, declined comment on the suspensions, which NJ Advance Media first reported.

The source confirmed that assistant coaches Mark Poore, Tim Ballard, Mike Novak and Ed Mish have all been suspended from their teaching positions.

The suspensions are expected to be voted upon during a closed-door session of a regularly scheduled board of education meeting on Tuesday night.

Seven Sayreville football players have been criminally charged in connection with the hazing and aggravated sexual assault of four teammates inside the team’s locker room.

Under state law, school district employees can only be suspended without pay if they have been indicted on criminal charges. It is not known if any of the suspended educators will face tenure charges.

Schools Superintedent Richard Labbe, who could not be reached for comment, previously stated that he believed Najjar was unaware of the locker room assaults because the coach was not criminally charged. The coaches’ office at Sayreville is detached from the football team’s locker room.

According to NJ Advance Media, the coaches were not in school Friday, although it is not known when the suspensions began.

MORE: Three players remain in custody, lawyer says.

Najjar, who built the Bombers into a perennial state power with a keen attention to detail, has been undone through one glaring omission in his daily preparation, that being the ability to patrol his own locker room. Najjar, whose mantra was “character and commitment,” trusted players to police themselves, a decision that now undermines his Hall of Fame career.

Najjar, currently in his 20th season at Sayreville, coached from 1983-94 at Brooklyn’s Abraham Lincoln High School. He owns a 246-76 career record.

Sayreville’s string of 18 consecutive postseason appearances comes to an end now that the school district has shut down the program in response to the alleged assaults. The Bombers won three sectional championships over the past four years.

MORE: Cancellation could go beyond this season

Najjar, according to a public records search, earns just less than $85,000 annually as a physical education teacher at the high school. He earns more than $11,000 as a head football coach.

Sayreville’s 2014 coaching staff, according to a MyCentralJersey.com preview of the team, included 13 assistants, some of whom may have been volunteers. Each of Sayreville’s paid assistants earns at least $8,000.

Three of the players are charged with aggravated sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, conspiracy to commit aggravated criminal sexual contact, criminal restraint, and hazing for engaging in an act of sexual penetration upon one of the victims, according to Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey.

One of those players and the remaining four teammates were charged with various counts, including aggravated assault, conspiracy, aggravated criminal sexual contact, hazing and riot by participating in the attack of the remaining victims, Carey said.

The complaints charge that on various dates between Sept. 19 and Sept. 29, one or more of the players held the victims against their will while others improperly touched the victims in a sexual manner.

It also is charged that, in one instance, one of the victims was kicked during an attack.

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Sayreville football coaches suspended as teachers
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