Longtime Bellevue football coach Butch Goncharoff is still technically in a job, at least for now. The man who turned the Wolverines into annual state title favorites and national contenders was officially placed on paid administrative leave on Tuesday as the district backtracked from claims made in May that they planned to fire the embattled head coach over a series of improprieties that were uncovered by investigations into the program.
As reported by the Seattle Times, the move to place Goncharoff on leave rather than fire him outright was meant to appease growing numbers of the coach’s supporters, who had become increasingly vocal about their desire to have him remain in his role. While it’s unclear if the decision — which essentially amounts to an official recognition that the district would like more time to come to a decision — will gain a measure of good will from the public, it failed to do that from Goncharoff himself, who continues to insist that neither he or the program did anything wrong under his watch.
“Again, it looks as if the district does not want its decision to be subject to scrutiny and a fair process,” Goncharoff’s attorney Bob Sulkin told the Times.
Meanwhile, Goncharoff’s longtime assistant coach, Pat Jones, continues his own legal fight against the district, which has vowed to keep him out of an official coaching role with the program in the future. Jones is represented by his wife, Marianne Jones, who is a practicing attorney in the state.
“We need to get this to stop,” Jones previously told Seattle TEGNA NBC affiliate KING. “The reasons for terminating (head coach) Butch (Goncharoff) and the reasons for not bringing me back are the wrong reasons.
“For 34 years I’ve been basically volunteering my time in the summer for football coaching, and now they’re telling me ‘you’ve taken money wrongfully’? That is not OK with me.”