Naugatuck High School football coach Rob Plasky is on paid leave as borough officials investigate whether he violated CIAC rules by giving money to the mother of standout players who wanted to transfer to Naugy.
Plasky, a 42-year-old Naugy alum who has been head coach at NHS since 2001, is alleged to have given $2,000 to a mother who complained of trouble paying bills. Sources identified the woman as Meme Martin, the mother of quarterback Javon Martin and legal guardian of David Coggins, a wide receiver who has verbally committed to Div. 1 football power Boston College. Both players wanted to transfer to Naugy for their senior years from Sacred Heart in Waterbury, where they excelled on the gridiron for three years.
While it is unclear what the money went toward, the Republican-American of Waterbury posted a blog on Tuesday stating the academic transcripts of Martin and Coggins are being withheld by Sacred Heart because part of the tuition for both had not been paid.
Reached by phone Thursday evening, Plasky said he could not discuss the issue.
“I’m fully cooperating with the investigation, and I don’t want to jeopardize that,” he said. He was not at practice on Thursday.
Borough officials are currently investigating the case, and it is unclear if or when the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) will get involved. However, several sources close to the investigation said Naugatuck will notify the CIAC and cooperate with any investigation the agency deems necessary.
While nobody would discuss the issue on record because of the ongoing investigation, Naugatuck Patch has learned that Plasky asked for the $2,000 from the Naugatuck Football Alumni Association, a volunteer organization and fund-raising arm for the football program.
That organization’s co-chairman, Frank Johnson Jr., had no comment on Thursday.
Several sources also said Johnson did not know he was doing anything that could have been in violation of CIAC rules. Johnson later felt uncomfortable with the situation and approached NHS Athletic Director Tom Pompei after discussing it with Plasky, sources said.
Sources tell Naugatuck Patch that Pompei had warned Plasky to be careful not to violate any potential CIAC violations while the Sacred Heart players were considering a transfer; Pompei specifically told Plasky to not have contact with the players or their families. Meme Martin apparently cried out to Plasky and the football coach tried to help, said sources, who say that Pompei had no knowledge about money changing hands until Johnson approached him with concerns.
Pompei said he could not comment at this time when reached by phone Thursday evening.
Everyone who has a potential involvement in the situation is being asked to give a statement to borough attorney Edward "Ned" Fitzpatrick, sources say. It is unclear how long the investigation will take.
Meanwhile, Javon Martin and David Coggins, who should be preparing for their senior years, are caught in the middle. And their high school football futures, at least for now, appear to be in limbo.