Butch Goncharoff is contemplating his football future at Bellevue. After an agonizing end to an emotional season Friday – an overtime loss to Eastside Catholic in the Class 3A state championship game as a 28-point lead evaporated – Goncharoff was asked about his future plans.
TACOMA – Butch Goncharoff is contemplating his football future at Bellevue High School.
After an agonizing end to an emotional season Friday – a 48-42 overtime loss to Eastside Catholic in the Class 3A state championship game as a 28-point, second-half lead evaporated – Goncharoff was asked about his future plans.
Speculation had been swirling he might be ready to walk away following a season-long Seattle Times investigation involving recruiting violations within the program.
“I’m not even going to comment on that,” he said after the game Friday, then elaborated. “That’s for next week, after talking to my wife and my family. This has been the longest year of my life. Nobody should go through what these kids and what I went through for not doing anything, and you live and learn. I will make the decision with my family.”
Bellevue football investigation:
Goncharoff did not immediately return a call seeking further comment Saturday.
Goncharoff was suspended for the first two games (an assistant received a three-game suspension) this season after Bellevue self-reported violations to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association involving improper activities – including providing rent and food after being approached by a the family of a player.
The program was put on three years’ probation and the Bellevue School District asked the WIAA for an independent investigation, which is ongoing.
Bellevue has captured 11 state titles in Goncharoff’s 16 years as head coach, including six in a row before Eastside Catholic’s upset in 2014, which also snapped a state-record 67-game winning streak.
If he returns, Goncharoff likely would earn his 200th victory next season as his record stands at 193-14 – not including the two games he sat out this year, when Bellevue lost to Bishop Gorman (ranked No. 1 in the country), then beat Mercer Island to open KingCo 3A/2A play.
The Wolverines had won 11 in a row heading into the rematch with Eastside Catholic on Friday and appeared to have that game in hand with a 42-14 lead early in the third quarter. But Eastside Catholic rallied to force overtime and won 48-42 on a Brandon Wellington touchdown run.
Afterward, Goncharoff lamented Bellevue’s inability to finish the game, but credited the Crusaders for the comeback.