Keith Johnson, Deseret News archives
PROVO — Louis Wong's grievance with the Provo School District is officially over.
The highly successful and immensely popular Timpview football coach agreed to withdraw the appeal of his termination in exchange for the district's willingness to withdraw its decision to terminate him.
Instead of being fired, he has resigned.
"I have submitted my resignation as a teacher and coach effective at the end of the 2011-2012 school year," he said in a written statement released by his attorney Elizabeth Dunning on Wednesday. "This resolves all disputes between the district and me."
Wong, who won four state titles and seven region titles in his seven years as Timpview's head coach, said he has taken a new job as director of personal training for all 16 Golds Gyms in Utah and that he supports the school's hiring of his former defensive coordinator, Cary Whittingham.
"Cary and I have worked together in the Timpview football program for the last six years," he said. "He is a fine coach and a good friend. I dropped my grievance and appeal because I want to move forward in my new job, and I want Timpview to move forward toward a successful 2012 season with its new head coach."
Wong was fired by the Provo School District on March 13 after separate district and state audits raised questions about the financial dealings of the program. District officials also listed violations such as not running background checks on all assistant coaches as reasons for his termination.
Wong has consistently maintained his innocence, and said that while he now knows he made some mistakes in the way funds were processed or handled, everything he did was done with approval or permission of his principal and other administrators. No other administrator at Timpview High has been disciplined as a result of the findings of the audits. The school did make changes to other programs, including their band program, after the audit was released, all under the direction of new principal Todd McKee and the district's new administration.
The controversy about Wong, his fundraising efforts and accounting issues, has sharply divided the community. It was the primary reason that former superintendent Randy Merrill resigned, although he also said he had other job opportunities. Former Timpview principal George Bayless resigned at the end of last school year and is currently serving an LDS mission. He defended Wong and his actions, as well as those of other administrators, in a telephone interview with the Deseret News in March.
Wong still faces an investigation and possible hearing with Utah State Office of Education officials over his teaching license.
Still, his desire that both he and the community find a way to move on is one of the reasons he's enjoyed so much support from the community during his tenure at Timpview.
"I appreciate the tremendous support I have received from students, parents and other school employees and community members," he said. "Teaching at Timpview and coaching its talented and hard-working football players has been the source of great pride and satisfaction for me."
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