HIGHLAND, Utah -- A Lone Peak High School football coach resigned amidst controversy on Monday—two years after he led his team to an undefeated season that included a 5A state championship.
At the end of the last football season a 42-page complaint was brought before administrators at the Alpine School District as more than 20 parents complained that Coach Tony McGeary wasn’t running the program’s finances appropriately.
One of the allegations against McGeary was that he forced players to pay to attend a training camp at the College of Eastern Utah and that McGeary benefited financially from this—making this an allegation of kickbacks.
"Between 2010 and 2012, Mr. McGeary did not disclose to the parents the true cost of CEU camp. (They) were told the cost was $250 per boy... In reality CEU charged $155 per boy and "kicked back" the difference. During those years, there were $43,025 in financial kickbacks from CEU for the team," the claim read.
McGeary allegedly gave some of the kickback money to assistant coaches, but left most for himself.
Other parents have come out in support of McGeary, and they said the accusations against him are unfounded.
They say the claims are the product of parents upset about their children’s position on the team. Anonymous parents submitted a letter supporting McGeary, which reads in part:
“Parents in support of McGeary feel that this was a witch hunt that resulted in a successful attempt at bullying, by a few parents who let anger that their child was not starting or receiving adequate playing time, consumed their lives and resulted in a rash strong-arm.”
Alpine school officials said they did not force McGeary out, but simply performed a financial audit and reviewed the coach’s actions—after which they say McGeary resigned voluntarily.
Rhonda Bromley, Alpine School District, said they respect McGeary’s decision to resign, and they ask that people be wary of falsehoods.
“There’s a lot of emotion involved, and everybody needs to make sure that there is correct, factual information out there because unfortunately in a situation like this there’s a lot of misinformation that is out there, so we all need to be responsible as far as how we are reacting and what it is we are listening to,” she said.
McGeary did not go on-camera to defend himself, but he did defend his record in a letter that has made its way to the Alpine School District.
In the letter he said, "I believe I've handled every aspect regarding the football program’s finances with the utmost of integrity and character."
McGeary remains a teacher at Lone Peak High School.