Dexter head football coach to return despite hazing incidents last fall

By Alex Barber, BDN Staff
Posted June 12, 2013, at 10:42 p.m.

DEXTER, Maine — Dexter High School football head coach Kevin Armstrong was unanimously approved by the SAD 46 board of directors Wednesday night to be the head coach again for the Tigers this fall.

Armstrong, who will enter his second season as Dexter’s head coach this fall, helped the Tigers to their best season in more than two decades, finishing the regular season with a 6-2 record and advancing to the LTC Class C playoffs for just the second time since 1995 before bowing to defending conference champion Bucksport 28-27 in the quarterfinals.

The board also approved 15 other fall sports coaches and assistant coaches in the same unanimous measure.

“It feels good,” Armstrong said in a telephone interview after the meeting. “We’re getting ready for the summer sessions. I’m anxious to get started.”

Armstrong’s return for a second season became uncertain after five incidents of hazing involving the football team last season at Dexter Regional High School.

Armstrong wouldn’t comment on if he was worried about returning to the sidelines, saying that the decision wasn’t up to him.

During an overnight event for Dexter’s football team on Nov. 16 and 17, five hazing incidents occurred at the school. The perpetrators and victims were all minors.

After the school’s investigation, 12 students were suspended from one to 10 days for their roles in the hazing,. The students also were barred from participating in competitive after-school events for periods ranging from one week to one month. Everyone on the team also had to perform community service.

Two students were charged with two counts of assault, while a third was charged with one count of assault. All charges were Class D misdemeanors. The three students were not named by police because they were minors.

After the SAD 46 board of directors meeting on Dec. 5, one mother, who asked not to be identified, said her son had his pants pulled down while three players took turns hitting his backside with a polycarbonate bat.

“It’s not the yellow bat at Walmart,” she said.

“The boy that hit my child backed up several feet and made him pull his pants down and ran six or seven feet to get more on his hit,” she said.

The first hazing occurred at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 16, while the other four incidents happened between 4:30 and 5:15 a.m. Nov. 17. Three of the five incidents were caught on the school’s video surveillance system.

Armstrong and assistant coach Matthew Hubbell were chaperoning the event at the time the hazings occurred, according to Superintendent Kevin Jordan.

Hubbell’s name did not appear on the list approved by the school board on Wednesday night. However, he was not on the list recommended by Jordan last year, either.

Jordan previously said that everything from not bringing the two coaches back this fall to bringing them back with no further sanctions had been considered.

In the wake of the hazing incidents, the school board adopted new policies regarding both hazing and overnight activities.

Armstrong received $3,577.88 as head coach for last year. This year, he will receive $2,986.26.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/06/12/sports/dexter-head-football-coach-to-return-despite-hazing-incidents-last-fall/ printed on July 30, 2014