Scandal forces Lone Peak High School Football Coach to resign

Scandal forces Lone Peak High School Football Coach to resign

Championship football coach Tony McGeary, at Lone Peak High school, resigned from his job Monday -- following allegations that he financially benefited from his players.
HIGHLAND, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Championship football coach Tony McGeary, at Lone Peak High school, resigned from his job Monday, but not because he wanted to do so.

Just looking at it on the surface, it may not make any sense. Why would a championship coach just up and quit? And why would the school want him out? The answer may have everything to do with a 42 page complaint sent to the Alpine School District. It claims - while players were winning for McGeary, he was taking money from them.  (Click here to read the complaint)

There's been a lot of excitement lately over football and “Touchdown Tony” at Lone Peak High School. But Monday night several of his players are only feeling shock and despair.

"I can't handle it," said Alema Tautu, #2, Sophomore.

"It was just devastating to me," said Isaac Fotu, #42, Junior.

"I was in shock. Is really happening?" said Sawyer Mullane, #20, Sophomore.

Monday Coach Tony McGeary who helped Lone Peak win the 2011 State Championship is resigned as head coach.

In his resignation letter he said, “I appreciate the opportunity I have had to be here and have enjoyed every minute of it.”

Some of his players don't know why he quit.

"He just told us it was a personal decision that he's resigning," said Mullane.

A spokesperson for the Alpine School District tells ABC 4 Lone Peak's Principal actually chose not to keep McGeary as head coach next year, so Monday McGeary resigned.

"There have been some discussions again based on as you know some feedback that has been received both at the school level and the district level," said Rhonda Bromley, Alpine School District Spokesperson.

That feedback she's talking about could be the 42 page complaint filed with the District claiming McGeary made illegal profits from his players. According to the documents, last season McGeary required players to attend a football camp at the College of Eastern Utah in Price. He charged them $250 a piece, but the camp only cost $155. The documents show McGeary gave the excess money back to his coaching staff paying them roughly $400 a piece but McGeary kept $5,735 for himself.

Reporter Brian Carlson showed the documents to the District but they wouldn't talk about it.

"And you can't comment on any of it?” Carlson asked.

“No," said Bromley.

The documents show they are other similar examples claiming McGeary illegally profited from players. The ones Carlson talked to Monday night didn't know about any of it. Right now they only know the coach they loved isn't coming back.

"I looked up to him ever since I've gone to high school," said Fotu.

"It's overwhelming I don't see next year with out Coach McGeary," said Tautu.

ABC 4 is told there have been a lot of parents upset on both sides of this scandal. The District said McGeary is still employed at Lone Peak as a P.E. teacher. The District is standing by its position that it handled the situation fairly.

Follow Brian Carlson on Twitter: @tv_briancarlson
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