Updates: Schools investigate after Arizona coach accused of passing game plans to opponents

Photo: Ben Moffat/The Republic

Updates: Schools investigate after Arizona coach accused of passing game plans to opponents


Updates: Schools investigate after Arizona coach accused of passing game plans to opponents


On Monday, the Ahwatukee Foothills News broke the story that Mountain Pointe (Phoenix) girls basketball head coach and assistant football coach Justin Hager had submitted his resignation on Sept. 13 after being accused of the person behind an email account that leaked plays, personnel information and game plans to football and boys basketball opponents.

Since, some coaches at different schools who received emails from the account WalterPayton12@yahoo.com have been investigated on whether or not they used the information.

Hager allegedly sent the confidential information around since 2017. Not until a game against out-of-state opponent Faith Lutheran (Las Vegas) on Aug. 23 did someone report it to the head football coach.

Here are updates of the situation. Click on the links for more information on each subject.

Board refuses to accept resignation

On Wednesday, the Tempe Union High School District unanimously voted to not accept Hager’s resignation, starting the process of firing him, according to the Ahwatukee Foothills News.

This is the first step the district needs to take to terminate a certified employee, a spokesperson told the Arizona Republic.

Pinnacle High SChool

The Paradise Valley Unified School District sent a press release to the Arizona Republic that included a timeline of WalterPayton12 emails to the Pinnacle High School (Phoenix) football head coach Dana Zupke and basketball head coach Charlie Wilde.

Both coaches denied using the information in their game planning.

From The Republic, published on Tuesday:

  • Sept. 17, 2017: WalterPayton12 emails Zupke advising he will be sending a game plan later in the week.
  • Sept. 20, 2017:  WalterPayton12 emails Zupke the game plans.
  • Feb. 27, 2018: WalterPayton12 emails Wilde plays to expect details with strategy information. Wilde responds with “Thank u.”
  • Feb. 28, 2018: WalterPayton12 emails Wilde with information about Mountain Pointe’s opinion of the Pinnacle basketball program.
  • Aug. 22, 2018: WalterPayton12 emails Zupke with strategy information of coverages to expect.
  • Aug. 15, 2019: WalterPayton12 emails Zupke advising Mountain Pointe will be at their scrimmage and includes images of plays.
  • Aug. 23, 2019: WalterPayton12 emails Zupke with images of plays.
  • Aug. 31, 2019: Zupke forwards the email string dated Aug. 15, 2019, and Aug. 23, 2019, and images of plays to Mountain Pointe head coach Rich Wellbrock.

Pinnacle has played Mountain Pointe in three football games during that span. In 2017, Mountain Pointe won 58-34. Last year, Pinnacle won 56-34. On this Aug. 30, Pinnacle won 40-0.

More from AZC: Former coach stunned Hager leaked plans

Chandler High School

The Arizona Republic published Wednesday that former Chandler football head coach Shaun Aguano and principal Larry Rother did not see the information as “credible” and did not use it to game plan for the 2018 6A quarterfinals.

“We didn’t see the email,” Chandler Principal Larry Rother said. “Shaun said, ‘I got this weird email.’ A weird, anonymous email. He said there were some plays, and here’s what they’re going to do.

“I said, ‘Do you think it’s credible?’ He said, ‘I don’t think so.’ We said, ‘Delete it and move forward.”’

They passed the email, which had photos of Mountain Pointe plays, onto Chandler athletic director Jim Culver.

Chandler officials did not report the emails to Mountain Pointe because they did not think it was credible, according to the Ahwatukee Foothills News.

Chandler won 49-21. Aguano is now a running back coach at Arizona State.

More from AZC: Former football coach shocked Hager turned on team

Perry High School

Perry High School expressed support of football coach Preston Jones and boys basketball coach Sam Duane Jr. to the Arizona Republic on Thursday.

Three emails were sent to Jones prior to the 2017 6A state semifinal, which Perry won 56-31.

“According to all assistant coaches interviewed including coaches who are now with other teams, Coach Jones did not make anyone, including assistant coaches or players, aware that he had received these emails,” Principal Dan Serrano and Athletic Director Jennifer Burks said in a letter to the Republic the two signed together. “Coach Jones did not use any of the information shared in these emails.”

Duane received the email before a basketball game last season. The letter said he deleted it and did not use the information, which was regarding the injury status of a Mountain Pointe player.

“Furthermore, the information that was sent regarding the Mountain Pointe player was incorrect, as the player competed early in the 1st quarter and throughout the rest of the game,” the letter said.

Perry won 69-52.


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