Former convict resigns as West Jefferson baseball coach

TERRETON — A former convict who pledged to raise funds for a multimillion-dollar baseball complex at a rural and remote East Idaho high school has resigned as the school’s baseball coach.

Mike Wing, who spent at least seven years in federal prison for a major investment scam in 2006, submitted his resignation as West Jefferson High School’s head baseball coach earlier this summer, the district’s August board minutes show.

Mike Wing

West Jefferson Superintendent Shane Williams could not be reached Wednesday for comment on Wing’s resignation, or the status of the proposed field.

Wing was charged with 18 counts of wire fraud by the United States District Court in East Texas, according to court documents filed in 2006. In 2002, Alabama successfully sued Wing for $7.5 million, claiming that he failed on promised donations to fund a fifth grade space camp he organized as the director of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

Idaho EdNews first reported on Wing’s field proposal and criminal past in June.

At the time, West Jefferson trustees and then-Superintendent Dwight Richins said they were aware of Wing’s criminal past. Yet officials still considered allowing Wing to secure funding for a complex replete with team training center, pitching tunnels, film room, training room, study hall, offices, weight room, turf and underground piping to melt ice and snow.

An endowment bankrolled by wealthy out-of-state donors would fund both the complex and a separate “leadership institute” for West Jefferson kids, Wing told the district. Wing told EdNews in June that several donors had expressed interest in funding the proposals, but he declined to share specifics.

Richins said in June that Wing’s planned curriculum for the institute looked “pretty darn awesome.” He lauded the prospect of a new field and Wing’s promise to bring high-profile figures — including retired military general Colin Powell and former U.S. Senator Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. — to speak at the institute.

The school board had already voted unanimously to pursue further “preliminary studies” of Wing’s proposals.

The plans’ prospects appear to have changed course after Wing’s history came to further light.

Williams, who replaced Richins as superintendent weeks later, told EdNews in July that he was aware of Wing’s history and that he had no immediate plans to bring the proposals back before the school board.

Williams did not comment at the time on the prospect of Wing’s future with the district.

Further Reading: Learn more about Wing’s criminal past and proposals here

Devin Bodkin

Devin Bodkin

EdNews assistant editor and reporter Devin Bodkin is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. He lives and works in East Idaho. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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