The baseball coach at Plymouth North High School denied allegations Thursday that he was involved with underage drinking at a party after the Division 2 state title game this June.
Dwayne Follette did not comment further on the school’s investigation of the allegation, which stemmed from an anonymous letter to the administration.
The letter said the coach and parents saw players drinking, allowed it, and might have been drinking with them.
Plymouth police had also been pursuing the allegation, though Chief Michael E. Botieri said there was not enough information to move forward against Follette and, for now, he had been cleared.
“The people we’ve talked to, we have nothing to move on,” Botieri said. “We have people making allegations to the school, but no one willing to step up. So at this point, we’ve concluded our investigations. It’s still open, any time someone wants to come forward right now, they can.”
The school released a statement announcing the internal investigation, which includes a series of interviews before the district determines the appropriate course of action for Follette, who has also been the football coach the last two years.
And though Botieri said there have been multiple allegations that have gone through the school, nothing has been filed directly to the police.
"We’re getting a lot of, ‘I talked to a person who said this,’ but that’s all we have," he said. "We can’t substantiate that because no one is willing to say they saw something."
Botieri said everyone he has heard from directly has stepped forward in support of Follette.
“I’d say 99 percent of the players’ parents were present at the party, and we’ve all signed a petition which states there was no impropriety on Dwayne’s behalf that night,” Myette said.
“We saw no alcohol consumption by the kids and we provided no alcohol for them to consume. If they obtained alcohol, which we’re not sure who may or may not have, they were going in the woods and drinking. And Dwayne was certainly not aware.”
Matt Walsh, Follette’s nephew who graduated from Plymouth North in 2011 and a former baseball player, said Follette “has never done anything like that before.”
Walsh started a Facebook page in support of his uncle, which had nearly 700 members as of Thursday afternoon. There were also more than 900 confirmed members attending a rally for the coach at the high school at 6 p.m. on Friday.
"He has brought so much tradition to everyone at North," Walsh said. "I still feel part of North and I'm in in college. But if he is no longer the coach, I will lose the love and feel like there is no tradition."