Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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High School Sports

Lake Oswego District investigating boys basketball coach

The Associated Press

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LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. — The school district is investigating a second round of allegations that the Lake Oswego High School boy's basketball coach made abusive and racially insensitive remarks to players.

A group of six parents, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a complaint against coach Mark Shoff in March.

It is the second complaint filed by the group. After allegations were made last April, Principal Bruce Plato dismissed claims.

The group then appealed to Lake Oswego Superintendent Bill Korach, who conducted a two-month investigation, according to documents obtained by The Oregonian newspaper. Korach did not find sufficient evidence to dismiss Shoff.

"The first complaint alleged certain behaviors ... and we conducted an investigation and review and made a determination on those allegations, Korach said. "The second iteration of the complaint came from their attorney and because it alleged additional behaviors from this season, our counsel advised that we treat it as a separate complaint even though it alleges many of the same things as before."

Korach told the newspaper that he expected the investigation to take two weeks.

Shoff would not comment on the story on the advice of his attorney. The parents also would not comment.

Lake Oswego went 19-9 last season under Shoff. The Lakers finished third in the Three Rivers League and went to the OSAA Class 4A tournament.

The Oregonian obtained documents from the first allegations by six parents, some of whose children transferred to Lakeridge High School before the 2003-04 season.

According to a letter from Plato to "concerned parents," dated May 16, 2003, Shoff did not remember making a racially charged statement during a postseason speech, or grabbing a former player "and throwing him to the bench."

Also among the charges were that Shoff referred to one player as "bin Laden" during a practice, and called Germany "kraut land" in a conversation with a former player.

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company


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