Two Woodside High basketball coaches dismissed following alleged hazing incident

As the 2014 high school basketball season gets underway, the varsity and junior varsity teams at Woodside High School will be training under new head coaches.

The varsity team is also engaged in rebuilding its morale after a hazing incident that allegedly occurred in December, James Lianides, the superintendent of the Sequoia Union High School District, told the Almanac.

As classes resumed after the winter break, Principal Diane Burbank dismissed varsity head coach Doug Fountain and the junior varsity head coach following an investigation into an alleged hazing incident of two varsity players during a pre-season tournament in the city of Patterson, located southwest of Modesto in the Central Valley, according to Lianides.

District officials allege that members of the varsity team taped the mouths of two varsity team members, including one freshman, applied makeup to their faces and forced them to watch Spanish-language TV "for a period of time," Lianides said.

Mr. Fountain was allegedly aware of the incident and may have witnessed some of it, Mr. Lianides said. The junior varsity coach allegedly had been aware of it but did not intervene and did not report it, Mr. Lianides said.

Attorney Christopher Dolan, who is representing the family of one of the team members, provided a statement to the Almanac: "We have reached out to the district and hope we can work collaboratively to resolve these issues. The best interests of the children are to try and work with the school cooperatively and in a discrete (sic) manner. We hope the school district will respond accordingly."

"The family is hoping no legal action will be needed," Mr. Dolan added.

Mr. Fountain was in his second year as head coach and came to Woodside with a long track record and good references, Lianides said.

An email from a parent triggered the investigation, Lianides said. A couple of days of investigation led to enough evidence to justify the dismissals, Lianides said. Burbank was not available for an interview.

Fountain was "certainly forthcoming (as to) what occurred," Lianides said.

The members of the varsity team, and parents of team members, have participated in three hours of a six-hour program on empathy and sensitivity in understanding others, Lianides said. Another three-hour session is ahead.

Woodside resident and former professional basketball player Rich Kelly has gotten involved to help rebuild morale on the team as the season gets underway, Lianides said.

The Almanac was unable to reach Fountain for comment.


Like this comment
Posted by liberty
a resident of University South
on Jan 20, 2014 at 6:47 pm

Is this a joke?
Forced them to watch TV?! Oh the horror!!

Like this comment
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jan 21, 2014 at 8:52 am

Alphonso is a registered user.

So what is the whole story? Members of the team (and probably the two that were punished) must of done something very anti-social to cause "the members of the varsity team, and parents of team members, have participated in three hours of a six-hour program on empathy and sensitivity in understanding others, Lianides said. Another three-hour session is ahead." Perhaps the two players should also be kicked off of the team for whatever they did.

Like this comment
Posted by wow
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 21, 2014 at 10:30 am

Why is junior varsity coach not named in the story?

Like this comment
Posted by Wassup
a resident of Woodside
on Jan 21, 2014 at 11:23 am

Ever notice how many Woodside parents do not let their kids go to this school, putting them in private schools after middle school? This is just one of many reasons.

Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 21, 2014 at 12:53 pm

One would assume the investigation showed that the coaches knew what was happening. Gagging someone? Forcing them to watch something would entail what?... ie how do you force someone to watch television without threats or locked doors? Isn't that almost a definition of assault and battery, and forced confinement or kidnapping? Hazing has to stop. It teaches humiliation and bullying. Those associated are lucky they didn't face criminal charges. My question would be whether players were suspended from the team and/or from school. And yes, all our kids played high school sports.

Like this comment
Posted by Joinpa
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 21, 2014 at 3:49 pm

There is an organization called that addresses abuse in sports, whether it is hazing, emotional or sexual abuse. Check out the site. Safe4Athletes is a not-for-profit organization that:

Advocates for and helps sports organizations adopt effective policies, procedures and educational programs that are designed to prevent coach, volunteer and peer misconduct whether it be abuse (sexual, verbal, emotional or physical) bullying, harassment or other forms of inappropriate behaviors.

It is also important to recognize that abuse can be inflicted by coaches, adult volunteers, staff members or teammates of the athlete. It is the obligation of parents, coaches and other adult sport leaders to immediately act to stop improper behaviors whenever they are observed. All adults are responsible for preventing the infliction of harm to our children. No matter how much a parent respects the position of a coach, abusive and improper behavior cannot be condoned.

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