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Feb. 5, 2023

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Football coach resigns amid findings of Sehome hazing investigation

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BELLINGHAM — Sehome High’s head football coach, whose team was the subject of a hazing probe that forced the school to forfeit a game this season, has resigned.

Bellingham Public Schools spokeswoman Dana Smith acknowledged Kevin Beason’s resignation in an email to The Bellingham Herald.

Beason, who had coached the Mariners for six seasons, told the team that he was resigning Monday, May 28, according to a letter from Sehome Principal Sonia Cole forwarded to The Herald.

“We recognize and appreciate the time and effort he and the entire football coaching staff have poured into this program,” Cole said in her letter.

In an email to The Herald, Beason said he described his time as coach as “a blessing” in a message that he shared with team members and their families.

“The scores and numbers of the game will fade in our memories, but I truly hope that we never forget the feelings we shared together, how we overcame challenges, and how we played for each other. The grit and determination displayed on the field will carry over and serve our program well as we all step into tomorrow. I am proud of what we were able to accomplish on the field,” Beason said he told the team.

“At the same time, every hour spent coaching was one hour borrowed from my family in my roles as a husband and father. Maybe now it is time for me to pay back some of that time. I am still a coach at heart, that will never change. My prayer for our program is that we live with a servant’s heart, always act with integrity, and give our very best in all we do,” he said.

As a “step 2 head coach” Beason earned an annual stipend of $7,490, according to the district website.

Cole’s letter also discussed the school district’s investigation into the Sept. 14 hazing allegations, which included interviews with students, families and coaches.

It described the steps that the school district has taken to reverse what Cole described as a pattern of bullying, intimidation and harassment “experienced by and perpetuated by Sehome football student-athletes for years” in violation of school district policy.

To play in games, team members were required to take six weeks of lessons aimed at building a “more positive, healthy team dynamic,” Cole said in her letter.

Cole also said that the lessons emphasized good sporting ethics with a goal of avoiding personal fouls, which has been an “ongoing issue,” she said.

Sehome finished the season with a 4-3 record in the Northwest Conference 2A league and had an overall 7-3 record.

In previous Herald reporting, Smith said that no coaches or school staff were present during the hazing incident, but she did not say if Sehome coaches were aware of it.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association requires coaches to take at least an hour of instruction on the legal aspects of coaching, including the topics of bullying, hazing and harassment. Additional hours of instruction must focus on diversity, equity and inclusion topics, according to previous Herald reporting.

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