Nevada High School Coach Takes New Job After Player's Hoax

FERNLEY (AP) - A Nevada high school football coach is leaving to
take a similar job in Oregon, five weeks after one of his players faked his recruitment.

Mark Hodges says his acceptance of the head coaching job at
Hermiston (Ore.) High School had nothing to do with the embarrassing hoax involving Kevin Hart, an all-state offensive lineman.

With Hodges standing next to him at a Feb. 1 school assembly, Hart donned a California cap to indicate his choice of schools as the crowd cheered.

Hart later claimed he had been the victim of an impostor posing as a recruiting promoter before he apologized Feb. 6 and admitted that he had made the story up. None of several colleges Hart boasted about had, in fact, contacted him.

Hodges declined to comment on the hoax and says he had been
considering the Oregon position for a while.

Hodges says a defamation lawsuit he filed against school officials Feb. 14 would go forward.

The suit accuses the officials of slandering Hodges by providing
unsubstantiated information that a Reno television station used in a Feb. 9 report that Hodges' coaching contract would not be renewed next year due to "unprofessional conduct and fiscal irresponsibility."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-03-07-08 1254EST


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