Confident that both himself and Hamilton's program will be cleared of any alleged wrongdoing in the JT Gray transfer from Coolidge, Huskies coach Steve Belles took exception to the accusations and re-affirmed the Chandler Unified School District's investigation which found no evidence of recruiting by Hamilton.
Both Chandler and Coolidge will submit their reports to the AIA Executive Board for review in August, at which point a decision will be rendered or a private investigator will be hired by the AIA if it wants a further inquiry.
Belles said he'd never been directly contacted by anyone at Coolidge about the allegation. Coolidge coach Cayle Ferguson said a letter was sent to the school in the spring asking Hamilton to cease contact with Gray, a standout running back/defensive back, but Belles said he never saw it.
"If I'd seen one, I guarantee the first thing I'd have done is call (Coolidge)," Belles said Wednesday.
"I never recruited that kid. There’s not one kid I’d ever say, ‘We have to go get some kid.’ We’ll win with the kids we have. Always."
Belles said he wasn't in charge of the awards at the Rivals.com camp in March at Hamilton when the alleged interactions took place, but said he'd never heard of Gray until he congratulated him on winning an award at the camp.
"If we did something wrong I’d be worried but I’m really not worried because we didn’t do anything wrong," Belles said. "They can say whatever they want but the truth will play itself out.
"I’m not losing sleep over this. Everything (Coolidge) said is a lie. That guy (Ferguson) is a liar. He may have heard stuff from the kid but nobody came to me."
Belles also noted the AIA bylaw in which a kid who participates in a camp or clinic at a school can't transfer to the host school without sitting out a year, meaning Gray couldn't have played at the school regardless.
Gray, who moved from Mississippi to Coolidge before last year (his junior season), has moved into the Chandler district boundaries and enrolled at Basha.
"We have a bunch of kids from Hamilton who’ve been there from day one and it shook them up too," Belles said of the allegations and surrounding hoopla. "This is about more than one kid and we are about more than one kid or a couple kids. We’d never jeopardize the kids who’ve been here for any kid or a couple kids for a season. That’s just idiotic. No kid’s bigger than the program."
Mark Heller is the East Valley Tribune sports editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (480) 898-6576.