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Former coach stole thousands from athletic department

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

A former Texas high school football coach is facing felony theft charges after he reportedly stole thousands of dollars from funding for his high school's athletic department.

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According to the Austin American-Statesman and ABC affiliate KVUE, former Austin (Texas) Anderson High coach Mark Reiland is facing felony charges related to the theft of somewhere between $2,400 and $42,000 from the Anderson athletic department.

The total number Reiland will be held accountable for is unknown, as he has confessed to taking $2,400 from an Anderson football fundraiser, yet an AISD police investigation found that he cashed some $42,000 worth of checks that were made out to Anderson High departments.

On top of that, Reiland's arrest affidavit also states that he was pawning computers, overhead projectors and a variety of other school property. It is also believed that Reiland was selling game jerseys and football helmets to the players in his own program.

No official reason for Reiland's theft have been provided, but it is assumed by police that debts incurred from a serious gambling addiction contributed to his behavior.

"We were stunned [in the spring] when we learned there might have been some improprieties [concerning Reiland]. It's something we never expected," Anderson Principal Donna Houser told the American-Statesman. "I like Mark personally, ... and I hate it for [the Reiland family], but we can't tolerate any kind of financial problems."

It's likely that there will be further negative stories related to Reiland's recent past that come to light in the future. Among other allegations, the American-Statesman reported that the former coach may have been able to keep thousands of dollars off the books by having donors write checks directly to him, rather than the school. He also may have taken money directly from the school's concession stands and football camp fees.

Regardless of the full extent of Reiland's potential criminal activities, his former athletic director insists that he is not a deviant at heart.

"He is a good person who has suffered through bad things," Austin Independent School District Athletic Director Tommy Cox told the American-Statesman. "I'm not going to condone what happened, but he's not a bad guy."

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