PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL (WJHG/WECP) Call it a rather bizarre story that involves current Arnold head football coach Norris Vaughan, and one of his former assistant coaches back in Phoenix. An assistant who was actively working against Vaughan and his team!
Arnold head coach Norris Vaughan leads the Marlins into the first week of fall practice
Justin Hager, who along with being a football assistant for Vaughan at Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix, was also the girls basketball coach.
Hager, investigators found, had been sharing inside information with opposing teams since 2017, which dates back to when Vaughan was still the head coach there.
"Divulging information, game plans, signals, defensive signals, offensive signals, whatever, everything." Coach Vaughan told me as we spoke at Gavlak a few days ago. "And he sent it to opponents. That's pretty bad to hurt the kids like that. We're in the state championship game (in 2017) we're an undefeated team ranked in the top ten in the country, and we've got one of our assistant coaches, not a varsity coach, but he knew everything we did. And I think it's pretty bad that he'd do that to kids."
Nobody, aside from Hager, knows the motive for why the assistant coach was sharing plays, and game plans with coaches at other schools.
And nobody blew the whistle until he tried to share inside info with a team from Vegas that was going to play Mountain Pointe in August. When his email history was tracked, that's when it was proven he was giving game plans away for years.
The fact coaches on the receiving end of Hager's email and inside information, that in particular, leaves a bad taste in coach Vaughan's mouth!
"It's very unprofessional, and it's very unethical." says coach Vaughan. "I don't know if it's illegal. But I had a similar thing happen to me when I was in Georgia. And someone sent some information to us, one of the team's we were playing. And I immediately called the team and told them. I feel like they should have called me, they should have called their athletic director, called our principal, and said hey, someone is sending out inside information on your team. And the fact that they didn't, and they claim oh we didn't use it. Well that's kind of far-fetched, if you're not gonna use it, then you certainly should report it. But they never did. That's sad."
Coach Vaughan says it's a shame, the players on that 2017 team may have been cheated out of a title, a ring. And short of asking that they share the title, there's little that can be done to rectify the situation.
At least now coach Vaughan and others hurt by Hager's actions have some semblance of justice. Coach Hager was officially fired Wednesday by the the Tempe Union High School District. So Hager now out of his $90,000 a year job. Hard to believe he will ever coach at any level again.