Hodges resigns as Fernley’s coach
Fernley High School football coach Mark Hodges resigned his position Wednesday to accept the head football caoching job at Hermiston (Ore.) High School..
Hodges told the Sierra Nevada Sports Media group Thursday he had been looking at this position for a while and had nothing to do with a recuting hoax involving one of his players, Kevin Hart, or the Lyon County School District.
Hart was supposedly recruited by five major universities. At a Feb. 1 assembly, Hart announced he was going to attend the University of California. One day later, Web sites that cover Cal Bears sports questioned Hart’s intent to play for the university. On Feb. 6 in a statement released through the school district, Hart admitted his story was a lie.
Hodges said he looks forward to returning to Oregon. Proir to coming to Fernley in 2005, he was an assistant football coach at North Medford, Ore. Hodges said he spent 12 years coaching at the high school level and three years as an assisant coach at Southern Oregon Univresity.
He compiled a 7-4 record at Fernley this year, and the Vaqueros qualified for the Northern 3A playoffs.
“The opportunity to coach at a 5A high school is a great one,” he said. “It’s a step up, and they have a great sports program.”
Hodges said officials at Hermiston High School contacted area coaches and did a thorough background check on him.
Before Hermiston offered him a job, Hodges said he had been looking at other vacancies for a head coaching job.
Hodges, however, said he couldn’t pass up the ecocnomic advantages of living in Oregon.
“It’s an economic advantage, a raise in pay and the cost of living is good,” he said.
Because of the Hart situation, Hodges filed a suit against the school district for defamation of characer. Although he will be leaving the school district, Hodges said the suit will still go forward.
In his lawsuit, Hodges claims the school district supplied information to a Reno television station stating the Fernley football coach’s contract would not be extended because of a Fernley player’s hoax about being recruited by a major university and because of fiscal irresponsibility.
When the lawsuit was filed last month in District 3 court in Yerington, Hodges’ attorney, Ken McKenna of Reno, said, “The statement of fiscal irresponsibility and the Kevin Hart matter created the insinuation (Hodges) was a conspirator with Kevin Hart.”
McKenna said the minimum amount to file a complaint in court is $10,000, but he said an award could range upward to the tens of thousands of dollars..
According to the complaint, Hodges is also asking for past loss of benefits, future loss of earnings and/or loss of earning capacity, punitive damages, reasonable attorney fees and costs of the suit, and additional damages as deemed by the court.
Hodges said he was still referring any questions about the lawsuit to McKenna.