ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Alamance-Burlington School System offered few new details in a new statement Tuesday after Walter Friedrich Hessenthaler was suspended without pay from his job at Southern Alamance High School and removed as head football coach.
On Nov. 3, the district announced that Hessenthaler, known to the team as “Coach Fritz,” had been “removed” as head coach and suspended without pay. The district did not elaborate on the reasoning, citing “privacy and legal considerations” and “the importance of keeping personnel matters confidential.”
On Tuesday, ABSS shed more light on how the district went about the investigation without disclosing the reason behind the decision.
According to ABSS, the sheriff’s office alerted the district “of some concerns related to” Hessenthaler. The school district opened an investigation and, over three days, conducted multiple interviews and had conversations with students, staff, administrators and families.
Hassenthaler was suspended and removed as head coach on Nov. 3.
“There is never a good time to release information such as this,” the school district said. “However, we completed the investigation process by notifying those impacted as soon as possible.”
Longtime coach stayed at school to teach
Hessenthaler worked as Southern Alamance’s head football coach since 2018, according to the school district. He had also worked as an assistant coach for Southern Alamance in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Hessenthaler previously worked as a teacher and head football coach at Southeast Guilford High School. After 14 years, he was fired as coach in 2016 but stayed on as a teacher, according to the News & Record. He reportedly told the paper that school officials said he was being fired because the program had become stagnant.
The school district’s full statement is included below:
We believe it is necessary to provide clarity regarding the recent removal of the Southern Alamance High School Head Football Coach. On the evening of October 30, ABSS administrators were alerted by the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office of some concerns related to a staff member, Walter Friedrich Hessenthaler, at Southern Alamance High School.
Staff immediately opened an investigation which included multiple interviews and conversations with students, staff, administrators, and families. These interviews continued over a three-day period.
As a result, he was removed from his coaching position on November 3. There is never a good time to release information such as this. However, we completed the investigation process by notifying those impacted as soon as possible.
Additionally, we advised the Sheriff’s Department of our findings as a follow-up to their initial notification.
ABSS puts the highest priority on student safety and well-being while also holding our employees to the highest possible standard in professional conduct. Since Superintendent Dr. Butler announced this strict stance against misconduct last September, we have acted on numerous reports resulting in student long-term suspensions and appropriate consequences for staff.
We will continue to uphold high standards across the District and provide a safe, nurturing environment for all students.ABSS District Administration