High school football: Hunter High coach arrested

By Amy Donaldson and Clayton Norlen

Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 2 2009 12:19 a.m. MDT

David Filimoehala

Provided by Utah County Jail

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LEHI — Hunter High coach and teacher Dave Filimoehala said he was just settling into the school year when an argument with his wife led to him being arrested and unable to teach or coach for the immediate future.

"They handcuffed me and took me to jail," said Filimoehala, who coaches the Wolverines' sophomore football team and varsity boys basketball team. "I just wanted my things. As soon as the police showed up, she gave it to the police. ... This whole thing could have been avoided if she'd given me my property."

Filimoehala is on paid administrative leave while the Granite School District investigates criminal allegations stemming from the argument, which occurred while the couple, who are divorcing, were dividing their personal property Monday night.

Lehi police Sgt. Sean Ferrell said officers were called to intervene in a domestic dispute at the Filimoehala home. The coach allegedly damaged a vehicle, tearing away wires and battering some engine components, Ferrell said.

Filimoehala, however, said he was simply trying to stop his estranged wife from taking his cell phone and a check that belonged to him when she left the home.

"She was in the process of moving some of her stuff out," Filimoehala said. "She took some of my stuff. I told her I needed my stuff back and I got some things off the trailer. Then I saw she had a check and my cell phone. ... It dawned on me that she's not going to give it to me."

When he attempted to disable the vehicle, Filimoehala said, her son grabbed him from behind, causing him to pull the wires completely away from the engine.

"If he hadn't jumped on me, I wouldn't have pulled them off," Filimoehala said. "I thought she called the police 45 minutes earlier when I said, 'If you're not going to give me my stuff, we need to call the police.' "

Sgt. Ferrell said no injuries were reported, by Filimoehala or his wife. The coach was booked into the Utah County Jail for investigation of domestic violence criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.

He posted bail for $1,100 later that night and was released from police custody.

Filimoehala, who guided the Wolverines to a 5A state basketball title in 2004, said he will vigorously fight the allegations.

"I have to clear my name," he said, adding that the school's administration and his fellow teachers have been supportive of him. "They've been more than supportive."

e-mail: adonaldson@desnews.com, cnorlen@desnews.com

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