High school coaches beware: If you steal from your players you will get caught. The fact that sentence even needs to be written is a troubling testament to an Oregon coach who allegedly just completed one of the more disturbing violations of recent times.
As reported by The Oregonian, Oregon City (Ore.) High head football coach Kevin Strasser was arrested on Tuesday after he was accused of stealing and subsequently pawning a watch owned by a student at the school. The 42-year-old was arrested on suspicion of first-degree theft and official misconduct. He posted a hefty bail of $22,500 and was released from jail on Wednesday, though he refused to comment on the alleged theft.
The backstory to the theft is about as disturbing as one might imagine a sordid tale of a coach's poor deeds could be. Strasser allegedly stole the watch -- a high end, customized Ice Time model -- from a graduating senior late in the Spring semester, but the student didn't report the theft. Instead, he assumed that the watch was simply lost and gone forever.
Then, one of the recent graduate's friends saw a watch that looked almost identical at a local pawnshop named A-1 Hawk. The student then belatedly reported the earlier theft, which gave officers the opportunity to check state records for who brought the watch into the shop.
The name they found? Kevin Strasser.
"We all are shocked and saddened by this news," Oregon City superintendent Larry Didway told the media while announcing the coach's indefinite suspension. "Oregon City School District expects all staff to uphold professional and moral standards of conduct, both in the classroom and community. Any time the actions of an educator may have betrayed the trust of our students and community, we are heartbroken."
The alleged theft appears to have brought a dispiriting end to a head coaching tenure that began with more fanfare and optimism than almost any other in recent Oregon memory. Strasser agreed to coach Oregon City after spending nine seasons as an assistant coach in the Canadian Football League. He was even the offensive coordinator of the Edmonton Eskimos during his final CFL campaign before returning to Oregon City, where he had been a young assistant coach in 1998 and 1999.
Strasser was entering his third season at Oregon City in 2013, and his success on the field had been remarkable. In 2010, Oregon City finished the season 4-7. In 2011, Strasser's first as head coach, Oregon City finished 8-5. The team's success was expected to continue, and there was absolutely no sense that the school would make a coaching change at any point in the near future.
Now that has all changed weeks before the 2013 campaign kicks off, all thanks to what can only be described as a deplorable lack of moral judgment by a man charged with leading teenagers on to better things.
"Mr. Strasser gained a lot of support and admiration from students and staff alike," Didway said. "That's why this is such a shock to us."