Former Bellevue High School coach Butch Goncharoff filed an notice of intent this week to sue the Bellevue School District, the WIAA and others.
“This is about my right to be heard. I was never allowed a chance to present my side of the story. WIAA and Sea-King have the power to impact my ability to work for any of its 800 member schools across Washington state – and they have not allowed me to present my case,” Goncharoff said.
Goncharoff came under heat along with the Wolverines football team, booster club and district athletics program when allegations emerged last summer that the program was illegally recruiting students and paying for them to the attend the Academic Institute and receive grades they had not earned.
Following the release of a fact-finding investigation in April, the district moved to terminate Goncharoff and assistant coach Pat Jones. Under the KingCo conference and WIAA Sea-King District 2’s sanctions handed down in June, Goncharoff has been banned from coaching the Bellevue team for several years.
“Under BSD’s restrictions, Butch can’t even go watch a BHS game as a spectator,” said Bob Sulkin, Goncharoff’s attorney, said in a press release. “The decision-making here has completely jumped the track of fair, reasoned judgment.”
Goncharoff has long held the belief that the WIAA investigators wanted to prove the team had broken rules, calling it a “set-up” in June.
Ultimately, Goncharoff said he hopes the notice will encourage athletic and school decision-makers to resolve several issues and overturn recommended sanctions.
This goes against the district’s decision not to further appeal the sanctions. Earlier this summer, Goncharoff’s concern had been on the student athletes.
“You may not like me, you may not like the football club, I can live with that. But don’t punish these kids,” he said at the time.