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Fairhaven Coach was AD during hazing investigation that led to arrests of football athletes

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FAIRHAVEN — When Scott Francis was hired as the Fairhaven High School athletic director last June, one of his goals was to return the struggling football program to prominence. Now the job falls squarely on his shoulders.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, the high school announced that Mr. Francis would take on the added duties of head football coach.

“I would say that when I took the AD job,” Mr. Francis said, “I didn’t expect (to take over the head coach job this year), but I could always see myself as the head coach. When we posted the job, we wanted the best candidate, period. There were plenty of candidates, some local, some regional, but not one person that applied had prior head football coaching experience.”

Mr. Francis, who has been a head girls lacrosse coach and an offensive and defensive coordinator in football, but never a head football coach, replaces Phil Harding, who stewarded the Blue Devils on a 4-7 campaign last year after an ugly chapter that only recently came to a close.

On May 18, Kevin M. Gonsalves Jr. and Dylan J. Parker, both 18, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor hazing and a charge of felony assault and battery after an incident last July at Camp Wishbone, an overnight football camp in Bourne attended by players from Fairhaven, Bourne, Falmouth and Bishop Stang high schools.

Two other Fairhaven students, both juveniles, have also been charged, but information about their cases has not been released. Mr. Francis, who had been on the job as AD for less than two months when the hazing incident occurred, said Friday the school will not return to Camp Wishbone this year, and Fairhaven Superintendent Dr. Robert Baldwin said that, while he can’t prevent students from attending private overnight camps, he would not encourage it.

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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