Allegations of financial misconduct, verbal abuse led to Bingham coach resignation

Published: Monday, April 8 2013 9:15 p.m. MDT

Former Bingham High basketball coach Mark Dubach reacts during a game in Ogden on Feb. 25, 2013. Days later, he resigned amid allegations of financial improprieties and verbal abuse of players.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

SOUTH JORDAN — The resignation of another successful high school coach is linked to allegations of financial improprieties and verbal abuse of players, the Deseret News has learned.

Bingham High boys basketball coach Mark Dubach recently ended his 22-year coaching career, then days later resigned from his teaching position mid-quarter. Dubach’s resignation as a teacher occurred after school and district officials opened an investigation into whether checks written by parents for a gym rental were cashed into an account that isn’t affiliated with the school.

South Jordan police confirmed they are also investigating the case. Dubach, however, says the incident is all a misunderstanding and he simply resigned to give the program a “fresh start.”

Dubach is the fourth high-profile high school coach to resign after allegations of financial missteps were discovered or reported.

Timpview head football coach Louis Wong resigned both his coaching and teaching positions in May of 2012 after an audit revealed issues with the way fundraising money was handled by the coach and the school. Lone Peak baseball coach Mike LaHargoue resigned in the summer of 2011, just as an audit of his program was initiated by district officials. Lone Peak football coach Tony McGeary recently resigned after issues surrounding a team camp and a sponsorship contract with an Under Armour dealer were found to violate district policy.

The investigation into Timpview's football program prompted changes statewide in the way school officials handle donations, booster accounts and fundraising efforts. The Utah State Office of Education is also scheduled to enact a new rule governing these activities later this month.

The financial issue at Bingham High came to light when parents Shawn and Annette Morley met with Bingham High Principal Tom Hicks on Feb. 28. Their conversation was a follow-up to a previous meeting with Dubach and a dozen parents who confronted the coach and asked him to resign, alleging he engaged in verbal abuse, including name-calling and swearing.

For several years, Shawn Morley said he had an arrangement with Dubach that allowed his daughter’s Jr. Jazz team to rent part of the Bingham High gym on Monday nights. Morley, however, learned that the team had been kicked out of the gym because they weren’t on the schedule — even though Morley had directly given Dubach $800 in two checks.

Morley said Dubach told him this year he’d have to “handle (the rental) differently, as a donation to the boys basketball team.” Most parents of the Jr. Jazz players paid the Morleys $35 and Shawn Morley gave Dubach a $765 check on Dec. 19, 2012, and wrote “gym rental/donation” on the check. One other parent wrote a $35 check at the same time, for the same reason. Both checks were made out to “Bingham Miners Club,” per Dubach’s instructions, according to Morley.

Both checks were cashed in a non-school account, the Jordan School District confirmed. Neither the district nor the school could say whether it was Dubach’s personal checking account.

“I assumed (Bingham Miners Club) was the school’s booster club for boys basketball,” Morley said, adding that Dubach told him he wanted to get the money before the Miners headed to a tournament in California so he could use the money to buy meals for the boys.

Hicks said there are no outside accounts for any program affiliated with Bingham athletics or activities — including booster accounts.

The Morleys went to Hicks for answers after Dubach wouldn’t explain why the Jr. Jazz team wasn’t allowed to use the gym.

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