BREAKING NEWS: H-F coach resigns amid student allegations

BREAKING NEWS: H-F coach resigns amid student allegations

The first-year boys’ basketball head coach of Hamshire-Fannett High School submitted his resignation just a few months into the school year after allegations arose claiming Coach Anthony DeCello had inappropriate contact with a female Hamshire-Fannett student.

DeCello was placed on administrative probation with pay Dec. 2 by principal Jon Burris after a student came forward saying DeCello had “sent her flirtatious text messages, commenting on her appearance and expressing an unprofessional interest in her,” states a letter to the State Board of Educator Certification from H-F ISD Superintendent Pamela Morris.

The Examiner filed a public information request seeking information about DeCello's employment Monday, Dec. 5. The request also asked for copies of any and all documents related to the allegations that had been reported to the newspaper, as well as any disciplinary actions taken against DeCello.

The letter goes on further to state that the information given by the student was confirmed in interviews with a number of other female students. And along with the text messages, the student also said DeCello hugged her and kissed on the cheek on one occasion.

As a part of the administrative probation, DeCello was directed not to have any contact with students and also prohibited from attending any H-F ISD activities.

According to student statements that were obtained by the school district, “Friends saw messages from DeCello on (student)’s phone directly. (Student 2) was taken to DeCello’s house to watch movie’s [sic] with him and (student). I have heard numerous times that DeCello and (student) text and (student) goes to watch movies at his house. Also, I have heard that numerous people heard him call (student) weird names like ‘baby,’ ‘sweet heart,’ etc. Also, he has been known to call other girls these weird names.”

The statement from the accusing student said, “During (redacted) Coach DeCello starting [sic] texting me and I would text him back. At first it was just about (redacted) then it got to be flirty. Such as telling me I’m pretty and that there was just something about me. He said he wanted to kiss me. We talked on the phone a couple of times, just normal stuff like how was your day? What are you doing? And about the (redacted) team. He would text me he was thinking about me [sic]. He would text me inappropriate stuff but I did text back. In 8th period one day, I went into his classroom and we talked. When I went to leave he hugged me and kissed me on the cheek.”

Another student wrote, “(Redacted) called me ‘princess,’ ‘babe,’ ‘sweetheart.’ Called me into his room to ‘talk’ about the (redacted). Messaged me on Facebook. Tried to get my # [sic] from Facebook. Witnessed him do the same thing if not worse to (redacted).”

Another statement reads, “On Oct. 1, after my SAT I met him at Starbucks for about 20 minutes. He texted [sic] me during my SAT and when I finished I texted [sic] him I finished and we met up in Beaumont in the Kroger shopping center around 12:30 – 1ish [sic].”

A final student statement gathered by H-F ISD officials said “He is [sic] made comments on my statuses on Facebook and also messaged me. He would text me sometimes. One time asking me to bring him lunch because he thought I was working the concession stand for the (redacted). Also had to fold and wash his personal clothes.”

As of Sunday, Dec. 11, DeCello submitted his resignation letter to Burris. The letter reads, “I hereby tender to you my resignation, effective immediately, as a teacher/coach with Hamshire-Fannett ISD.

“I have enjoyed my time with H-F ISD, and I am resigning in order to pursue other career opportunities. Thank you. It has been a pleasure working with you.”

Morris accepted his resignation the next day.

The Examiner attempted to contact DeCello several times by phone Friday, Dec. 16. When DeCello finally answered, he told a reporter to call back in 30 minutes. During the follow-up call, as requested by DeCello, the reporter's call went to voicemail. The reporter noted DeCello's voicemail message had now been changed. Instead of, "This is Coach D. Leave a message," the new message did not contain any identifying information and simply stated, "Leave a message."

Further calls went straight to voicemail later that day.

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Comments

DeCello

I've known the man for over 10 years and have nothing but exemplary things to say about him. He has a reputation of being hard on student and players because he is pushing them to be better and usually what follows that is some kid gets their feelings hurt and goes to mommy to try and get him fired. I've watch it happen to him first hand over a completely unrelated matter and apparently it has again. He treats others with the utmost respect and I trust him implicitly. Shame on the parents who did not teach their children to have resilience so that they might decide to work harder and get better when someone pushes them instead of attacking the person who truly wants the best for them and trying to find a way to not deal with their own shortcomings. Parents, you know what I'm talking about. Paraphrasing: "A student said he commented on their status on facebook and asked them to bring him food because he thought they were working the concession stand" Huh? How is that inappropriate?

This is a COACH that develops real, conversational relationships with students because he cares for them. So.... one child lashes out at him and all the adults go "ooooh ooooh ooooh look it look it what he did," and decide it's better that he's gone from their lives (never mind what he might have to go through) than for them to figure out what's really happening. Never mind also that he doesn't have to care about your kids in the first place.

You want to know how many opposite sexed teachers and coaches have hugged me and kissed me on the cheek over the years? Even commented on my appearance? Does anyone understand how easy that is to spin into a story? These are not inappropriate actions. These are people connecting with your children and trying to make them feel good about themselves because lord knows that most of you don't. Anyone who has spoken ill of this man and caused him have to leave his job DESERVES to lose theirs and to have to start over somewhere else. I hope you all understand what affect you have on people someday with your jumping to judgements and taking children's word for things. It's insanity.

So for those of you who have questions about his working in your town. Feel blessed. He is by far the best coach or teacher I have EVER had and I have been through MANY school systems. PLEASE give the MAN a chance and not the BS that has apparently latched onto him. I couldn't imagine a better person for something so ridiculous to happen to. He will teach your kids to have toughness, to work hard, to work smart, and to have respect for themselves and those around them. That is if you have already laid the base for that to be taught yourselves. Otherwise your kid will just get mad and try to get him fired for being hard on them.

I wish I could just start telling story after story of all the things he has taught me that made me a stronger and more capable human being mentally. What your kids will miss out on if you try and run him off.....

Ridiculous

Coach DeCello was my basketball coach for 3 years. He is the greatest coach I have bed had and I never once felt as though he was hitting on any of us. Sure he would text us and was concerned about our well being. However, I never thought for a second that he was a pervert or was attracted to any of us. Give him a chance at your school and your team will continue to get better and may even go as far as we did in the playoffs. Like I said, I've known the man now for 8 years, and I continue to talk to him to this day. He is extremely intense and one of the most intellectual people that I know, but not a pervert. And he definitely isn't interested in high school little girls.

You dont know Coach Decello

Coach decello is a sciece teacher and an Awesome coach. I dont think he is a Perv at all. In my opionon he wouldnt do any of this. If he did, people can change, maybe he has, maybe he moved all the way down here to start over and to get a clean slate. You cant judge people on what you read about them. You dont know him, so dont judge him.

DeCello's Age/Identity

I recently watched a 20/20 segment covering Rutger's ex basketball coach, Mike Rice. It reminded me of my basketball coach in 1987, Anthony DeCello. I Googled his name and this article came up. In 1987, a young (20 something) coach named Anthony DeCello near Pittsburgh PA "resigned" from his job amid allegations of inappropriate behavior with a female student. Rumors flew around, but details were not given to the players. Looking at this picture, it looks like the same guy. If the man in the article would have been roughly in his mid 20's in 1987, it is very possible we have a repeat offender. If this man is from the Pittsburgh/Western PA area, it is most likely the same guy. If that is the case, the new school needs to know.

Student Allegations

Would the reporter for this story like to follow up? He is now coaching in our town and so far has not answered to these allegations. Many parents are concerned and the school district seems to be brushing it off. Certain things have already been noticed and pointed out which has heightened our concerns.

coach decello was a great

coach decello was a great coach and was not a pervert

DeCello

I agree. I have known him for a long time. There is more to the story than people know. He was never charged with a crime because he did not commit one. Also, he was never discilplined by the board of education. This school lost a coach who would have been good for the kids and the basketball program.

Great Coach

I will agree that he seems to know a lot about basketball but that does not excuse anything else. If he resigned then the board of education by law could not discipline him. Not accusing him of anything but really concerned as to why he will not address the issue if wants to continue to work with kids, girls at that.

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