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Hastings wrestling coach investigated for misappropriation of funds

Hastings head wrestling coach and assistant principal Josh McLay is accused of misappropriating between $11,000-$12,000 of raised/donated funds after an investigation by the district over the past two months. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia

The Hastings School Board held a special session Nov. 26 to discuss an investigation into alleged misappropriation of funds by assistant principal and head wrestling coach Josh McLay. On Wednesday during its normally scheduled meeting, the board summarized the investigation’s findings and announced its decision regarding McLay’s employment with the school district.

McLay is accused of using Fund 11 funds — money that is primarily raised/donated — to attend out-of-state college football games with groups of people (both district and non-district employees) when his stated purpose was to attend wrestling and coaching clinics. The investigation alleges that over a seven-year span since 2011, McLay misappropriated approximately $11,000-$12,000 in Fund 11 funds.

On Monday during the closed session, the School Board considered options regarding McLay’s employment, including an agreement put forward by McLay and his attorney which consisted of five stipulations:

  • McLay will resign as head wrestling coach at the end of the current season, which has already begun.
  • McLay will resign as assistant principal at the end of the school year.
  • McLay will be placed in teaching position by the district for the 2019-20 school year.
  • McLay will repay the money spent since 2011 ($11,000-$12,000).
  • McLay will receive a 10-day suspension without pay during the current school year, but after the end of the wrestling season.

The School Board voted unanimously Nov. 26 to accept the agreement.

The investigation was triggered Oct. 8, when a district employee notified Superintendent Tim Collins that an employee had used a procurement card (p-card) to purchase 10 tickets to a Florida State-Notre Dame football game in November. Procurement cards cannot be used for entertainment purposes and employees with them sign documents that they understand the regulations for p-cards. District office staff looked into the matter before contacting its legal counsel, which then kicked off the formal investigation.

The investigation alleges that in 2011, McLay was going to a wrestling clinic in Nebraska when he asked if he could buy his coaches (a group of 8-10) tickets to a Nebraska football game, to which the district said no as Fund 11 funds cannot be used for entertainment. The district determined that in this instance, and others over the course of seven years, that no clinics actually took place.

The School Board determined on Nov. 21 that the investigation had found everything it was going to in regards to McLay’s employment situation and scheduled Monday’s special session.

McLay declined to comment on the investigation but had addressed the matter with his team. McLay will be coaching Saturday as the wrestling team opens its season by hosting the annual Raider Duals.

This story is currently developing.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a RiverTown Multimedia sports reporter covering Hastings, Farmington and Rosemount athletics. He graduated from Drake University with a journalism degree in 2014. 

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