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Short-Lived Coaches Raise Hiring Practice Questions

Jason Scott

An Idaho school district is looking at its hiring practices after it rescinded job offers to two brand new coaches once details of their pasts came to light.

Nampa High School announced the hiring of new boys' basketball coach James Daye and girls' soccer coach Evan Curry in a press release dated June 23, but both were relieved of their duties a mere five weeks later. Since neither coach had signed a contract, the school was allowed to rescind the employment offers and relieve them of their coaching responsibilities.

The Idaho Statesman reports that each coach came to their jobs with troubling histories — Daye’s related to an allegation of an inappropriate relationship and Curry’s tied to an ethics complaint.

Daye had a long history of coaching basketball before he arrived in Idaho in 2015, with successful stops in North Carolina and New York. He had been an assistant for Niagara University’s basketball program for two seasons.

But the Statesman reports that Daye was accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old female student in 1991, a claim Daye says is false. The school employing him at the time investigated, but no charges were filed against Daye — meaning the accusation wouldn’t appear on a criminal background check.

In 2008, during his tenure at McKinley High School in Buffalo, N.Y., the issue was reported by The Buffalo News, which led to an investigation by the New York state Education Department. Daye ultimately resigned and surrendered his teaching certificate, a move Daye said he made under the advice of lawyers who had urged him to simply retire and collect his pension.

Daye alleges he told Nampa’s athletic director about the allegation before he was hired as a JV girls' basketball coach last season, a claim that the district said it could neither confirm nor deny.

Curry’s case stems from an undisclosed investigation into a missing MacBook laptop by the state’s teaching ethics body, the Professional Standards Commission.

A PSC panel said that the school that had purchased the laptop for Curry’s classroom had “a haphazard inventory system for school property,” but ultimately ruled that Curry had “failed to exercise a high level of responsibility over (the MacBook Pro) at the end of the school year."

Curry was reprimanded by the ethics body and ordered to complete an ethics course.

Now that both coaches have been let go, the school is searching for answers into how they were hired in the first place.

Both coaches were subjected to FBI criminal background checks, and to searches of the statewide sex-offender registry. Daye reportedly passed his background check at the time of his JV girls' basketball hire, but Curry hadn’t completed his.

“We are looking carefully at our hiring process,” school spokesperson Kathleen Tuck told the Statesman. 

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