Confrontation led to dismissal

School district documents say Freedom's Adam Stegeman talked to an assistant principal "in a hostile manner."

Published September 23, 2006

TAMPA - Freedom coach Adam Stegeman's recent dismissal was prompted in part by allegations of profanity toward a school administrator immediately after the Patriots' Sept. 8 game at Wesley Chapel, school district documents reveal.

In an accompanying statement, Stegeman insisted he "did not curse" at the administrator.

Stegeman was fired by principal Richard Bartels three days after the game, a 21-14 Patriots overtime victory, for what Bartels wrote was "unprofessional behavior that you displayed immediately following the football game at Wesley Chapel."

Stegeman, in his third year as Patriots coach, voluntarily resigned from his teaching position Sept. 15.

The documents, obtained Thursday by the Times, include written accounts from four school officials - two from each school - of what led Stegeman to confront Freedom assistant principal Kelly King in a hostile manner after the game.

According to Wesley Chapel athletic director Steve Mumaw, Stegeman's wife and another female grew disruptive after being denied entry to the game with their Hillsborough County athletic passes.

After paying for a pair of $5 tickets, Mumaw wrote, both started yelling obscenities at Mumaw and the ticket seller, leading officials to refund the women's money and ask them to leave. King, on administrative duty, was among those who escorted the women toward the entrance.

After the game, according to King, Stegeman confronted her "in a hostile manner, pointed his finger in my face" and used a profanity.

"I stepped back and he then continued to walk away from me," King wrote. "I yelled his name and told him to stop. He continued yelling as he walked away."

About a minute after the confrontation, King wrote, she approached Stegeman and informed him of the pregame incident. According to King, Stegeman apologized, then called King later to again apologize after speaking to his wife.

Times staff writer Scott Purks contributed to this story.