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Saugus High School football coach placed on leave

The head football coach for Saugus High School has been placed on administrative leave and police have launched an investigation over a team-related incident that occurred in late August, officials said Saturday.

The police investigation will determine whether the incident involving Coach Anthony Nalen constituted a crime, interim Saugus Police Chief Ronald Giorgetti said. He said he did not know the precise date of the alleged incident and declined to comment on the nature of the allegations.

UPDATE: Saugus High coach says he’s been cleared

Linda Gaieski, a member of the Saugus School Committee, said Nalen has been placed on leave pending the outcome of the probe, but she didn’t know the details of the alleged incident.

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The school board isn’t involved in the public school system’s daily operations, she said.

Nalen didn’t respond Saturday to an e-mail, and a telephone number listed for him on the team’s website was disconnected.

His suspension was first reported Thursday by The Advocate, a newspaper that covers Saugus and several nearby communities.

The team opened its season Friday at Landry Memorial Stadium in Amesbury, losing to the Indians 30-12. Mike Mabee, who coaches football at Belmonte Middle School in Saugus, is the team’s interim coach, according to the Saugus Advertiser. He didn’t respond to an e-mail Saturday, and a telephone number for him couldn’t be located.

David DeRuosi Jr., Saugus Public Schools superintendent, and Michael Hashem, Saugus High School principal, didn’t respond Saturday to requests for comment. Other coaches for the high school football program and captains of the varsity squad either declined to comment or didn’t return messages.

Nalen began coaching football in Saugus last year when the team finished with a 4-7 record.

His biography on the Sachems football website said Nalen has been coaching football for nine years and played the sport at Springfield College and Pope John XXIII High School in Everett, where he was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame.

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Nalen teaches computer science for the Saugus Public Schools and has four children, the website said.


Laura Crimaldi can be reached at laura.crimaldi@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @lauracrimaldi.