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Sun, March 24

Kingman High assistant coach Pagliaro says he'll resign

Kingman High assistant coach Mike Pagliaro works with members of the Bulldogs kick-off coverage team during Friday’s practice. (SHAWN BYRNE/Miner)

Kingman High assistant coach Mike Pagliaro works with members of the Bulldogs kick-off coverage team during Friday’s practice. (SHAWN BYRNE/Miner)

KINGMAN - An investigation into the background of Kingman High assistant football coach/language arts specialist Mike Pagliaro came up with an answer.

"He's not going to be coaching for Kingman High School," said KHS athletic director John Venenga. On Tuesday, Pagliaro said he was going to submit his resignation.

Wickenburg resident Justin Blackburn alerted KHS about the possibility Pagliaro wasn't entirely truthful when he applied there.

Pagliaro and Blackburn first got acquainted in 2009 when Pagliaro was head coach at Wickenburg High. Pagliaro resigned after one season as a result of allowing his brother, Tom, to be a volunteer assistant coach without going through the proper channels.

Tom Pagliaro was convicted in 2007 of felony flight in Illinois after police found him in a vehicle with a 16-year-old girl. He was found not guilty on a charge of sexual misconduct.

Blackburn does have a bee in his bonnet concerning Mike Pagliaro. Blackburn alerted a Texas school in 2010 about Pagliaro after he was named football coach and athletic director. Four days later, Pagliaro resigned from those positions.

KHS and the Kingman Unified School District also took action on Pagliaro's faculty duties at the school.

"He's on paid administrative reassignment to home while we do an investigation," said KUSD superintendent Roger Jacks. "We expect all that to be completed in a couple of days. We want to get this concluded as quickly as possible. It's a top priority."

When Pagliaro applied at Kingman, it was only for the faculty position. Once he was hired, Venenga said he noticed he had a football background.

"I asked him to help out," Venenga said. "He said he would."

KHS football coach Greg Tonjes put Pagliaro in charge of special teams and the offensive line. He's had to make adjustments now that Pagliaro is no longer coaching.

"I have to respect and honor what our district and A.D. decided," Tonjes said. "He was knowledgeable about football. It hurts us."

Pagliaro sees the writing on the wall and said he would be submitting a resignation letter. Despite all that has evolved here in Kingman, he departs without any ill feelings.

"John Venenga and (principal) Janelle Victory are unbelievable people," Pagliaro said. "They are the type of administrators coaches and teachers want to work for. I'm going to miss working with them."

Though KUSD would not discuss sensitive personnel matters, Pagliaro said he was told he was put on leave because he submitted an incomplete application.

Pagliaro said he never filled out a district application but used a website that is for teachers looking for positions.

"I put my resume online," he said. "I passed up four other teaching jobs to take this one."

He said he chose to come to Kingman because it's not like Illinois.

"The mountains and the desert," Pagliaro said. "Arizona is a beautiful place."

He did say it is frustrating that Blackburn can come in behind him and ruin what he was trying to do in his life. And perhaps Blackburn's behind the scenes work got Pagliaro removed at KHS, but Blackburn can't take away what's most important to Pagliaro.

"If Justin Blackburn took away my golf clubs, I'd be more upset," Pagliaro said.

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