An Arizona high school coach quit his job after being linked to an email account that was sending the football team’s game plans to opponents for no discernible reason, according to a report from Richard Obert of the Arizona Republic.
Justin Hager, the girls basketball coach and assistant football coach at Phoenix’s Mountain Pointe High School, was reported to have been behind an account that sent hundreds of emails dating back to 2017 containing information about formations, game plans, signals and player eligibility.
Hager reportedly claimed to have resigned to take another job elsewhere.
The since-deleted email account used to carry out the bizarre campaign of leaks: firstname.lastname@example.org, per the Ahwatukee Foothills News.
While the how of Hager’s reported leaking seems apparent, it remains unclear why Hager would do such a thing.
Took three years for a coach to tell Mountain Pointe
Amazingly, it appears Hager did this for years without any warnings getting back to head football coach Rich Wellbrock.
The coach that finally gave Wellbrock a heads up was Faith Lutheran head football coach Vernon Fox of Las Vegas. Perhaps not coincidentally, the 1-2 Mountain Pointe’s game against Faith Lutheran is its only win so far this season.
From the report:
"From our perspective, we didn’t want to be a part of having an unfair advantage," Fox told The Republic. "I just wanted to let the head coach know. I didn't want to be a part of something like that.
"It's what we teach our kids every day. I'm an ordained minister, and we teach about integrity and character."
Fox’s email response when the Mountain Pointe’s plays fell in his inbox paint a similar outlook:
"Sir…I don’t believe in cheating. We are not looking to gain an unfair advantage. We will prepare as best we can and look to have a great competitive game.”
Fox’s warning was apparently not too surprising for Wellbrook, as he suspected some opponents were a little too prepared. Once Fox warned Wellbrock that his program had a mole, the Tempe Union High School District traced the emails to Hager.
Two other football coaches were identified in the investigation to have received the emails, with one reportedly claiming he was told to immediately delete the emails by his athletic director while the other said he just assumed they came from a fan in the bleachers.
While Wellbrook simply expressed dismay at the reported leaks, former Mountain Pointe head coach Morris Vaughan, with whom Hager began his tenure as freshman football coach, seemed unhappy with his ex-peers, per the Republic:
"This happened to me years ago in Georgia," Vaughan said. "They sent me information. I reached out to the other coach to let him know. I'm disappointed our guys in Arizona didn't call us and say you've got a rat somewhere."
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