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Kingston girls basketball coach accused of smoking pot with students

Kevin Strozier led the Kingston High School girls basketball team to the state tournament two years in a row.  - Brad Camp/File Photo
Kevin Strozier led the Kingston High School girls basketball team to the state tournament two years in a row.
— image credit: Brad Camp/File Photo

KINGSTON — Kevin Strozier, Kingston High School’s girls basketball coach until his sudden resignation last month, was being investigated for allegations of drug use with students when he resigned from his post at the school, a district official said this week.

North Kitsap School District Assistant Superintendent Chris Willits said Strozier was placed on administrative leave Nov. 10, two days before Strozier resigned, while the district investigated allegations he had used drugs with students.

Strozier did not return messages left on his home and cell phones this week.

In a letter sent to Strozier and dated Nov. 11, the district wrote, “The North Kitsap School District has received allegations of misconduct against you involving drug use with students. As you are aware, the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Department has been investigating this matter and has, or will be, forwarding a report to County Prosecutor’s Office.”

Kitsap Sheriff’s spokesman Scott Wilson said Tuesday the department’s investigation began Nov. 5 and a report was sent to the prosecutor’s office Nov. 12. Wilson said the allegations were made by students who claimed there was a video showing Strozier and some students smoking marijuana. He said no such video was found, and the investigation did not develop probable cause for an arrest.

“I’d hate for people to draw conclusions about the process, because the process has not produced conclusions,” Willits said.

On Monday, Willits said the district will place an employee on administrative leave if officials believe there is validity to an accusation made against them.

Willits later added that placing a staff member on administrative leave during an investigation does not mean the district believes the person is guilty. He said the district will place a staff member on administrative leave if allegations against that person are serious enough.

“None of the actions the district took were predicated on a judgment being made,” Willits said. “Sometimes the allegations just need to be strong enough. It could be simply the allegations are so serious.”

Chris Case, spokeswoman for the district, had declined to say whether Strozier was on administrative leave when Strozier’s resignation was first reported by the Herald. But both Case and Kingston High Athletic Director Dan Novick said Strozier did not give a reason for his resignation Nov. 12, four days before team tryouts for the 2009-10 season.

When contacted by the Herald last month, Strozier said he quit to spend time with his family.

In 2007, while a coach at Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Strozier was placed on administrative leave after being accused of not following procedures regarding an altercation between two players at a practice.

When Strozier was hired by Kingston in 2007, Novick told the Tacoma News Tribune Strozier had been vetted by the district.

Despite the accusations against Strozier, Novick stands by the district’s decision to hire him.

“I still feel good,” Novick said Thursday. “From a procedural standpoint, we didn’t have any issues with Coach Strozier here.”

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