Brunswick High School has placed two coaches on paid leave and canceled its homecoming football game Friday night amid an ongoing investigation into allegations of hazing, bullying and harassment among players.

Additionally, a detective was assigned to the case Saturday to investigate whether any laws had been violated, according to Brunswick Chief of Police Scott Stewart.

Brunswick Superintendent Phil Potenziano told The Times Record in an email that information he was made aware of on Thursday left him with “no choice but to act and cancel the football game between Brunswick and Lawrence.” He declined to detail that information.

“I also placed BHS Varsity Head Coach Dan Cooper and Assistant Coach Greg Nadeau on non-disciplinary administrative leave for their coaching responsibilities,” Potenziano said Sunday. “Unfortunately, I cannot state anything further at this time as we are completing a comprehensive investigation led by an outside attorney.”

Potenziano said he decided Thursday to place the coaches on leave.

Specifics regarding the allegations remain unclear, but Potenziano said that the alleged incident took place during a team retreat at Thomas Point Beach — a music venue and campground in Brunswick — in August.

The Times Record first reported on the alleged incident Tuesday after obtaining a Sept. 18 letter from Superintendent Phil Potenziano addressing Brunswick High School football parents. Potenziano told The Times Record that he was first informed of the allegations around Sept. 8.

On Friday, Potenziano announced that the game was canceled due to the investigation, and on Sunday he told The Times Record that the two coaches were on leave.

Potenziano would not confirm or deny to The Times Record a report by WCME community radio that included details leading to allegations of assault on a younger student by upperclassmen.

“I also want to state there have been reports in the media regarding specific allegations and I would like to reiterate that the important thing for all of us to remember is that hazing in any form is intolerable,” Potenziano said. “It is meant to cause harm, discomfort, embarrassment, humiliation, and degradation, and ridicule. I certainly do not want to create any additional harm by saying anything further.”

The investigation is being led by attorney Allen Kropp of the Portland firm Drummond Woodsum.

On Friday, Cooper told The Times Record that the decision to cancel the game came to him from the superintendent at around 12:30 p.m.

“It’s unfortunate, I feel sad for the kids,” Cooper said.

Attempts to contact Cooper for further comment on Sunday were  unsuccessful.

“Homecoming Weekend feels different this year in light of the recent allegations of hazing, bullying, and harassment that occurred at the football team retreat,” Potenziano wrote in a letter to the school community on Friday. “As I have shared with the community, we are thoroughly investigating these allegations to ascertain the facts and will take any and all appropriate steps to address all substantiated allegations.”

When the announcement was posted on the Brunswick Dragons Football Facebook page, community reaction varied. Some took to the comment section speaking favorably of the decision to cancel the game:

“Kudos to the superintendent for making the statement that (bullying) will not be tolerated,” read one comment from an individual whose profile identifies them as a Brunswick resident. “This is a life lesson and missing (one) football game is a nano second in comparison.”

Others were against it, criticizing Potenziano and the school department for the cancellation:

“Until the investigation is complete I don’t believe in punishing the whole team for a few bad apples,” read another comment from an individual whose profile also identifies them as a Brunswick resident and Brunswick High School graduate.

There are around 40 players on the football team. It is unclear how many may be involved.

Potenziano anticipates the investigation will conclude in the middle of this week, although if additional information comes to light, it may extend the process.

All other homecoming games were scheduled normally over the weekend.

 

This story was updated at 11:15 a.m. Sept. 26, 2021, to correct the location of where the alleged incident took place.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.