Buckeye Verrado assistant football coach resigns after fight with player

A Verrado assistant football coach resigned his job with the district after police said he got into a confrontation with

A month after an altercation with a player on campus, Buckeye Verrado High football varsity assistant coach Jeff Jenkins submitted his resignation with the Agua Fria Union High School District.

Dr. Dennis Runyan, the district's superintendent, said that it was Jenkins' decision to resign. His resignation letter, Runyan said, was approved by the school board on Oct. 4.

Jenkins, who also runs a speed-training business, was employed by the district as an aide for special-needs students, Runyan said. Jenkins' son is a senior on the football team and Jenkins will be allowed to attend games as a parent to watch his son play, the school said.

Runyan said Jenkins was placed on administrative leave after the Sept. 1 incident in which Jenkins got into an altercation with a player who was upset that he wouldn't be allowed to travel with team while still ineligible to play, because of the five-game transfer rule.

According to a Buckeye police incident report, the player sent a group text to the coaches, voicing his frustration, using obscenities and saying he no longer wanted to be part of the team.

According to the police report, the player was given his belongings from his locker in the gym, where he was waiting for his ride to come. While the teen was waiting for his ride, he got into an argument with Jenkins, according to the report, and it escalated into a physical confrontation.

Other coaches told investigators that they thought the upset football player would have left the gym without incident had Jenkins not inserted himself into the situation. 

The confrontation included Jenkins crouching down and grabbing the player's legs, according to the report. 

"It was when coach (redacted) started to involve himself when things started to escalate," the police report states. "It was said, in the coaches opinion, it was coach (redacted) who escalated the incident rather than assisting. They felt they were (illegible) to cover for coach (redacted) again as they did in the past."

Jenkins and the player were separated, Verrado athletic director Adam Brevovsky was notified and police were dispatched. 

"The district was completing a personnel investigation after the report of a conflict in early September," Runyan wrote in an email. "The employee was assigned home pending the investigation and the district was working with the SRO for any additional input from Buckeye police who were managing a separate inquiry. The employee was not allowed at any athletic events or on campus during this investigation."

The athlete involved is still in the school district and is on schedule to graduate, Runyan said. 

Sgt. Jason Weeks of the Buckeye Police Department, who is the school resource officer supervisor, said nobody wanted to seek charges and it was "left at the school district to deal with."

Messages have been left with Jeff Jenkins, who has yet to return them.

Senior running back Ja'Tai Jenkins, Jeff's son, leads the 5-2 5A team with 1,309 yards and 17 rushing touchdowns on 125 carries.

Coach Tom Ward, in his first year leading the Verrado football program, said he was told by the district not to comment.

"Generally, parents are not notified on personnel issues which are private to those families involved," Runyan said. "Since the resignation, we have closed the investigation and the former employee has been extended permission to attend games as a parent to watch his son play.

"There have been no additional issues and the team is moving forward."

To suggest human-interest story ideas and other news, reach Obert at richard.obert@arizonarepublic.com or 602-316-8827. Follow him at twitter.com/azc_obert. Watch the azcentral sports high school football show on the azcentral sports Facebook page, with a new episode live every week at 7 p.m.

Share on
Article Buckeye Verrado assistant football coach resigns after fight with player compiled by www.azcentral.com