The controversial head football coach who ushered in an era of unprecedented success and, eventually, scandal at Washington football power Bellevue has landed in a new role a year after being ousted on the heels of a massive Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) investigation.
As reported by the Seattle Times, former-Bellevue head coach Butch Goncharoff has been hired as the new head coach at Cedar Park Christian, a small, Class 1A program in Bothell, Washington, not far from Bellevue. From a competitive standpoint, Goncharoff landing at Cedar Park Christian is a major coup for the school. Yet Goncharoff also comes with a significant amount of baggage.
Despite racking up a 193-14 record in an astounding 16-year run at Bellevue, including 11 state titles, Goncharoff was relieved of his duties in 2016 following a WIAA investigation that piggybacked on a series of in-depth investigative reports from the Seattle Times. The newspaper and governing body eventually determined that Bellevue had been guilty of a number of violations, ranging from impermissible academic benefits to recruiting and financial malfeasance on the behalf of board members.
It was an unseemly look for a program that had become synonymous with success, both in the Pacific Northwest and nationwide. While Goncharoff never officially relinquished all hope of returning to Bellevue as he waited out the 2016 campaign, it’s clear he finally came to the conclusion that he had to move on.
Now we know that next opportunity will come in Bothell, at a program many would have expected was far below his station just a year earlier.
“We’ll let the hiring process and fact that we came to an agreement speak for itself,” Cedar Park Christian principal and athletic director Todd Lundberg told the Times. “We fully vetted him as a person and a coach.
“I sense that he’s excited as any coach could be for a new opportunity.”
In a unique, but perhaps fitting quirk, there was one other football coaching announcement on Monday: Bellevue announced that Goncharoff’s replacement, interim head coach Mark Landes, has been appointed as the full-time head coach at the school, proving once again that the shadow of Bellevue will always loom large behind whatever Goncharoff achieves next.