At the final meeting of the disbanding 1A Cascade Conference on May 31, league athletic directors raised concerns regarding Cedar Park Christian’s promotional material for its junior football program.
The pamphlet featured a photo of varsity head coach Butch Goncharoff and noted that it was a K-12 program instead of distinguishing it as a junior K-8 program, according to Cedar Park athletic director Todd Lundberg.
Thus, in violation of state recruiting rules, the school’s varsity football program was put on one-year probation.
Lundberg noted that returning coach Goncharoff wasn’t involved with the brochures, which were produced by the junior football program — a separate entity from the high school program.
Goncharoff was fired by Bellevue High in April 2016, after allegations surfaced that the program was illegally recruiting students.
Lundberg and his staff “self-reported” the violation, meaning that they responded to the league’s concern and submitted paperwork that they’ve addressed the matter.
“We worked with the junior football program in correcting that, and you’ve got to move forward,” Lundberg said of the pamphlets, which were distributed internally to students and he’s not sure how league officials found out about the brochures.
Lundberg noted that it’s a unique circumstance with the junior program, “which is a ministry of the church, just like the school is a ministry of the church and it’s open to both Cedar Park Christian school kids or other kids in the community if they want to come and play football,” he said.
The probation doesn’t affect coaching, the number of games on the Eagles’ schedule and whether the team can participate in the playoffs, said Lundberg, adding that other schools in the league have previously been on one-year probation for various reasons.
Under Goncharoff’s guidance in his first year at Cedar Park last fall, the Eagles earned their first 1A postseason berth and they posted a 4-6 record.
“We’re very happy and contented with Butch, he has been a great fit and as far as I’m concerned, I meet with him weekly, and has been nothing but a strength,” said Clint Behrends, superintendent of Cedar Park Christian schools, adding that he meets with all coaches and teachers weekly.
The Eagles’ squad features 23 players during workouts this spring, and sported a roster in the low 30s last year, according to Lundberg.
They’ll compete in the newly formed 1A North Sound Conference in the fall along with Sultan, South Whidbey, King’s, Granite Falls and Coupeville, which joins the five Cascade teams while former Cascade squads Cedarcrest and Archbishop Murphy have departed for another league.
Lundberg said all the squads and communities get along well and feels everybody’s looking forward to starting fresh with the new league in the fall.