The bizarre saga of Butch Goncharoff continues.
After a yearlong battle with the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association over alleged recruiting and eligibility violations, the reigning “Coach of the Decade” faces a potential two-year ban from the Bellevue (Wash.) football program that has won 11 state championships since the turn of the century.
Following the release of the WIAA’s 68-page investigative report last week, the Bellevue School District’s board laid the groundwork for withdrawing a contract renewal offer to Goncharoff for at least two years due to “evidence of misconduct” by his staff and the team’s booster club, according to The Seattle Times.
Among the alleged violations uncovered by the WIAA were players providing false addresses inside the school district, the payment of tuition costs for student-athletes attempting to get their grades in order at the private Academic Institute and more than $300,000 in coaching stipends for Goncharoff’s staff paid by the booster club, led by former Microsoft CFO John Connors, according to The Seattle Times.
The investigation stemmed from Bellevue’s self-reported violations in 2015, when Goncharoff allegedly provided funds for a player’s family in need and coordinated a training program outside of the season.
Naturally, the Bellevue Wolverines Football Club has stood by its man. The WIAA dubbed the club “uncooperative” in an investigation the club countered by calling it “biased” and “prejudiced.”
“If this was a courtroom,” Connors told The Seattle Times, “this case would be dismissed immediately.”
Likewise, Goncharoff declared his innocence in an interview with KING 5 prior to the board meeting.
“No, no, (we’re not cheaters), we’ve been doing things right in our eyes for a very long time,” Goncharoff said in an exclusive interview with KING 5 News on Monday held in his attorney’s downtown Seattle office.
“I’ve sat back and waited, hoping (for the truth), and when I read it I was bitterly disappointed,” said Goncharoff. “At first I cried, and then second I kind of laughed and third, I just looked at it and said, ‘This doesn’t make sense at all.'”
The district is expected to rule on the board’s rather vague two-year ban proposal in the coming days.