According to a letter obtained by KING5 Thursday, the Bellevue School District will recommend that Bellevue High School football coach Butch Goncharoff, whose teams won 11 state championships in 16 years, be fired for repeated rules violations in his program. The recommendation follows a 68-page report by outside investigators released April 27.
The report alleged that school boosters subsidized tuition for players at a private alternative school, that administrators ignored rules violations, and that players’ families provided false addresses to gain eligibility for Bellevue players.
Bellevue School District executive director of human resources Jeffrey Thomas wrote the letter to Goncharoff, which said, in part:
The District is considering terminating your employment with the District for your repeated violations of District Board policies, including, but not limited to, Board Policy No. 5251 (Conflict of Interest) and Board Policy No. 2151 (Interscholastic Activities) and for your failure to be forthright and truthful with your supervisors and District administrators regarding the compensation you received from outside entities for services related to your employment as Head Coach of the Bellevue High School Football program.
Thomas went on to outline a number of allegations against the coach and ended by writing that the Bellevue School District would “recommend” Goncharoff’s termination unless Goncharoff could provide a reason why it shouldn’t. Since 2009, he has received more than $420,000 in compensation from the school’s boosters, who claimed the money was paid for “non-coaching” duties that did not violate WIAA rules.
Goncharoff has adamantly denied wrongdoing, telling King5 recently, “No, no, (we’re not cheaters), we’ve been doing things right in our eyes for a very long time.”
The denials in the face of the evidence added to BSD’s decision to advocate termination. Wrote Thomas:
Even more troubling and inexcusable to the district is your numerous, outright denials to your supervisors and district administrators regarding your receipt of payment from the boosters and other organization until the culmination of the WIAA investigation.
Goncharoff took over the Bellevue program in 2000 and quickly developed it into a powerhouse. Eastside Catholic finally snapped a Bellevue 67-game winning streak in 2014.
He remained adamant about his innocence, telling King5, “I’m going to battle to the bitter end here, and whatever the decision, I’m still fighting.”