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Clearfield High teacher, football head coach on administrative leave

By Patrick Carr - | Nov 22, 2021

PATRICK CARR, Standard-Examiner

The entrance to Clearfield High School's football stadium is shown Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.

Clearfield High School teacher and first-year football head coach Don Eck is currently on administrative leave, stemming from a harassing and threatening voicemail he left on the cellphone of a student at the school and a subsequent inquiry into his conduct by the school and Davis School District.

Eck, who teaches physical education and “Fit for Life” at Clearfield High, left a voicemail on the cellphone of a football player — the player had recently quit the team — sometime after the Falcons’ playoff game at West Jordan in late October.

A recording of the voicemail was posted to, and later deleted from, a Clearfield football Facebook page. The recording starts with a man identifying himself as “Coach Eck.”

“Hey, give me a call when you can. I want to meet with your parents, man, ’cause I keep hearing your mom’s putting all sorts of s— on social media talking s— about the coaches here and I’m gonna put a stop to that, bro,” Eck is heard at the start of the voicemail.

“What they let you do, quitting on your teammates, is the most selfish thing I’ve seen in all my years of athletics, and I’ve been around a lot of players,” the voicemail continued.

Eck declined comment when reached on Monday. A Davis School District spokesperson confirmed Tuesday that Eck is on administrative leave.

The voicemail was shared with school administration and Eck was placed on leave some time in late October, according to a source familiar with the situation who was not authorized to publicly comment.

“But by them letting you f—— quit on your teammates and go into this game shorthanded like we did is the most despicable thing I’ve ever seen in all my years of coaching, and I want to let both your parents know that and I want to tell them face to face, so call me back so I can set up a meeting with your parents. Thanks, bye,” Eck says as the voicemail concludes.

The school and district are also looking into multiple additional allegations surrounding Eck’s conduct, though the full scope of the allegations is unclear. Eck has met with DSD multiple times throughout his period of leave, but as of Monday, no final determination on his employment has been made.

The Davis School District website doesn’t list an opening for either a teaching position at Clearfield High or the football coaching position there.

Numerous parents have reported they are upset because they weren’t told directly by school administration that no one was in charge of the football team, which has created a leadership void in a period of time normally spent on starting offseason training programs and organizing postseason banquets.

School administrators are typically precluded from sharing personnel information, so parents have mostly learned from each other about Eck’s absence.

“It affects more than just the parents. If the parents are not knowing what’s going on and if the kids are not knowing what’s going on, to be in the dark like that as a team, it’s just terrible,” said Brittani Dicus, whose son played on the Clearfield football team a couple of years ago.

Chris Tremea, whose son played on the football team this year, said he and more than a dozen other parents of Clearfield High football players signed on to an email sent to Assistant Principal Jim Batchelor to express frustration about the lack of communication as well as no leader, even a temporary one, being in place on the football program.

“I understand confidential information, I understand the HR responsibilities of an employer. But communicating with the core group that is directly affected is key, and that’s been a notorious problem with Clearfield High is that parents are not at all kept in the loop,” Tremea said.

Clearfield Principal Chris Keime didn’t return an email message sent last week seeking comment.

Eck came to Clearfield High in advance of the 2020 season to help then-head football coach Andre Dyson with the football team. Eck was soon elevated to offensive coordinator for the 2020 season. After Dyson left following the 2020 season, Eck was named head coach.

Eck previously coached football at the University of Utah. Before Clearfield, he was the head football coach and a teacher at Corner Canyon High in Draper. Clearfield went 1-10 this season and has a combined 6-36 record the last four years.

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