Sahuaro High coach appeals TUSD dismissal effort

2011-05-24T10:36:00Z 2011-05-24T11:29:24Z Sahuaro High coach appeals TUSD dismissal effortAlexis Huicochea, Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 24, 2011 10:36 am  • 

The head coach of Sahuaro High School’s varsity softball team is appealing his dismissal.

Steve Sanchez is accused of making inappropriate and embarrassing remarks to players.

Sanchez is also a teacher at Magee Middle School, but the dismissal effort only applies to his coaching position.

“Steve has been with the district for 20 years,” his attorney, Dan Cooper, said Tuesday. “He’s a great coach, great teacher and a good guy who doesn’t deserve this.”

Cooper plans to present evidence that at least three of the players who made claims against Sanchez were lying.

He added that if TUSD had investigated the credibility of those who made the statements against his client rather than relying on hearsay the charges would not have been brought forward for approval by the Governing Board.

A TUSD investigation found that while the entire team did not support the allegations against Sanchez, there were enough to give credibility to the allegations.

An assistant coach also told investigators that he did not believe the claims against Sanchez, but indicated that Sanchez tended to joke around a lot and that in the process, things may have been misconstrued.

Allegations that Cooper plans to dispute include:

• Sanchez reportedly made inappropriate comments about a player’s breast size, saying in effect that she didn’t need a sports bra because she had nothing to put in it. Cooper says that the player actually commented that Sanchez should loan her his sports bra and his response was “what for?”

• Another player claimed Sanchez constantly asked her about her boyfriend, telling her things like “Why are you with that skinny guy? He won’t be any good for sex.” Cooper says others who were present will testify that Sanchez did not make that statement.

• Sanchez used his authority as a coach to arrange a date between a player and one of his former students. A player said that she went on a date with the boy because she did not want to be benched. After that, Sanchez was more lenient about her missing practices. Cooper argues that Sanchez didn’t arrange the date and that the boy wanted to go out with the player on his own.

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