Brunswick sacks football coach, cancels rest of season over hazing incident

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Brunswick High head coach Dan Cooper offers a pre-game prayer to the school’s football team ahead of their game at Skowhegan High last Friday night. Cooper had been placed on administrative non-disciplinary leave a week earlier by Superintendent Phil Potenziano. The superintendent announced Wednesday that “Cooper is no longer affiliated with our sports department.” Michael G. Seamans / Morning Sentry

The Brunswick School Department canceled the rest of the high school football team’s scheduled games and fired longtime football coach Dan Cooper following his investigation into a hazing incident during a retirement from pre-season.

Superintendent Phil Potenziano made the announcement in a letter to the community Wednesday afternoon.

“I am writing to you with regrettable news about our football season. First I wanted to inform you that Daniel Cooper is no longer affiliated with our sports department, ”wrote Potenziano. “His departure, the withdrawal of some players from the squad and the number of ineligible or injured players on the squad caused the administration and myself to seriously assess our ability to field a squad safely for the remainder of. the season. After very careful deliberation, we have concluded that we cannot safely field a team and continue to play competitions for the remaining three games of the season. “

The hazing incident took place during a team retreat overnight August 16-17 at Thomas Point Beach in Brunswick.

According to a heavily redacted copy of the report obtained by the Portland Press Herald, the investigation was launched after school officials were informed on September 2 that during the retirement a football player was kept at the floor and a sex toy had been put in her mouth. The report says 36 of 39 registered players were interviewed as part of the investigation, as were Cooper and other coaches. It also notes that texts, emails and other correspondence related to the events of the retreat were examined and that four short videos, recorded on students’ phones, of alleged incidents during the retreat were also obtained.

Most of the report, including all conclusions, have been redacted.

“We understand that this decision will likely be a blow to many of our student-athletes and their families, and we regret the circumstances that forced us to make this difficult decision,” Potenziano wrote in his letter to the community. “However, we must be guided by what is best for the safety and well-being of our students and the administration, and I believe that is the right decision.”

This story will be updated.

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