For Mountain Pointe head coach Rich Wellbrock, his players, staff and the entire Pride Community, the storm left behind by former assistant coach Justin Hager can’t pass soon enough.
Hager was fired Wednesday after originally attempting to resign from his position as both varsity girl’s head basketball coach, assistant varsity football coach and teacher at MPHS.
The nearly unthinkable incident made headlines around the country.
Thursday afternoon Wellbrock spoke to the assembled media at the Tempe Union School District offices and addressed a number of issues related to Hager’s recent firing for leaking Mountain Pointe information and game plans to opposing coaches the past three years.
“You don’t think it’s on your own staff,” Wellbrock said reflecting back. “That’s kind of where we thought that it would move on, shall we say…the main message [to my staff] was this was going to be a little bit of a storm. I needed them to coach football and me buffer from a standpoint of helping the kids get through this.”
Wellbrock, in his second season as Mountain Pointe head coach, briefed the media on a myriad of topics, including his “tense” conversation with Hager in his office after the staff was first alerted of the leak before their game against Faith Lutheran High School (NV) in August.
“We spoke and the information sort of started piling in,” he said. “At that point we made the decision to move forward and let the district do the final pieces of the investigation…our relationship [with Hager] was as good as any relationship I have with current members of the Mountain Pointe staff. There was no friction at any time that I’m aware of.”
On the field, the Pride (1-4) are on a current four-game losing streak. They return to their home stadium for the first time since August 30th, hosting Gilbert Highland Friday night in Ahwatukee.