Editor’s note: Several calls to Dixon High School Athletic Director Tom Crumpacker seeking comment for this story were not returned.
Former JV football Coach Troy Hensley has hired an attorney to explore the possibility of a lawsuit against the school district for what he calls an unjust firing and improper drug testing of athletes at Dixon High School on the part of Athletic Director Tom Crumpacker.
“They have hired us to explore all the legal remedies for Troy’s unjustified firing,” Walnut Creek-based attorney Michael Cardoza said. “As part of our litigation, we are looking into the implementation into this random drug testing (policy) and whether in fact it is random."
A wave of washed over the school and community when Dixon High Principal John Barsotti and Varsity football coach Wes Besseghini dismissed Hensley as the JV coach. While Barsotti and Besseghini have declined to talk about the reasons for Hensley's dismissal, Hensley said Barsotti and Besseghini told him philosophical differences led to his dismissal.
Hensley said he does not agree with the reason given to him.
“The philosophical differences come from us being successful and them not being successful,” Hensley said. “Wes did not like the fact that I had a bond and a relationship with these kids like I do. He felt that they were more loyal to me than they were to him.”
Hensley's JV teams had a 16-4 record in his two seasons while he was coach. The Varsity Rams started the season 0-6 before winning their last four races to win the Golden Empire League Championship.
Besseghini said the search for a new JV Coach is underway, adding he has a candidate in mind.
“I’m looking for somebody with coaching experience and somebody willing to sell Dixon High at the next level,” he said.
Asked if he did not see this in Hensley, Besseghini said he could not comment on that.
Emotionally, Hensley said the situation is taking a slight toll on his family.
“It’s just another step in life,” he said. “Do I like all of what’s going on? Absolutely not. Do I think it’s over the top? I do.”
Hensley's firing has raised many questions among students, parents and fellow coaches. Several people spoke during the last school board meeting on behalf of Hensley and in support of his rehiring.
Many people at that board meeting said Hensley's firing points to a much larger problem within sports program.
“Living here in this town in the last 15-20 years, it has the good old boy mentality. That has to go away. Somebody doesn’t get hired because they are more qualified, because this other person is a friend or is my student, it can’t happen," said Rich Bedoya, former Dixon High School Quarterback Club president. "We have to move this program forward. You guys have to put a process together and everybody has to follow it.”
Cardoza said part of Hensley’s potential lawsuit is focused on possible violations of the drug-testing policy at Dixon High School by Crumpacker.
“This has been a long time coming… there’s been a long controversy about the drug testing policy for a long time,” Brandy Hensley said.
Hensley said the district’s policy states two people must be present when staff chooses who to drug test. He alleges Crumpacker failed to follow that policy.
According to the district’s policy on drug testing its athletes (attached in full to this story) the district has an obligation of:
- assuring the names of all participating student athletes are in the pool
- assuring that the person drawing the names has no way of knowingly choosing or failing to choose particular students for testing,
- assuring that the identity of students drawn for testing is not known to those involved in the selection process and
- assuring direct observation of the selection process by at least two adults.
Interim Superintendent Brian Dolan said the school board is in the process of revising and updating the district’s drug testing policy.
“The policy hasn’t been reviewed in quite a few years,” he said. “After a board decision (they thought) it would be wise to form a group to look at what is says and to make sure that it’s written in such a way that’s feasible in 2012, and support programs in 2012 as well. We have already made the commitment in December. It’s an old policy that it hasn’t been revised.”
“We have concerns that it's (the drug testing policy) not being implemented in the fashion it was meant to be,” Cardoza said.
Cardoza's high-profile cases includes his handling of the San Francisco dog mauling case in which Diane Whipple was killed by two pets in her apartment building. He has also served as a legal analyst, appearing on shows such as CNN's "Larry King Live," and NBC's "Today Show," providing analysis on cases such as Scott Petterson, Robert Black and Michael Jackson according to Cardoza's web site.
Interim Superintendent Brian Dolan, Dixon High Principal John Barsotti and Varsity Coach Wes Besseghini declined to comment on Hensley's dismissal, saying it would be inappropriate to comment on a private personnel matter.
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