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COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — A long-time athletic donor and coach at Cottonwood High School was unexpectedly told this week to pack up his equipment and leave as a volunteer coach.
Scott Cate was asked to leave after 13 years due to a new Granite School District policy.
Cate has donated $4 million$5 million to Cottonwood High over the last 13 years, and without that money coming in, taxpayers could be left picking up the tab.
It is no secret that Cate has done well in life: He owns a golf course in New England, has a 23,000 square foot home in Cottonwood Heights and is retired at a relatively young age.
In his free time, he had volunteered as the offensive coordinator at Cottonwood High School--until Monday, when he was relieved of his duties by the Granite School District Superintendent.
The district cited a new donation policy as the reason: the revision says no one who contributes more than $499 annually to a school can also serve as a coach. And another reason: Cottonwood is just one school in the state being audited for the possible misuse of money within athletic departments.
"I think there's a struggle now, that parents are coming in, they're donating to schools, and then they're expecting something in return," Cate said.
He is in it for the right reasons.
He understands the policy is meant to curb favoritism or pay for play incentives, but he said he doesn't have a conflict of interest.
"That's what's strange about the whole thing, which is, there's nothing in it for me," he said. "I don't want a building. I don't even want to talk to you."
But he did speak with KSL about helping football players learn lessons on and off the field. Players like Cooper Bateman, who credits Cate's coaching for helping him to land a scholarship at Alabama.
"Sad to see him leave, but it's a life lesson, really," Bateman said. "Things change, so you have to go with it."
A meeting was held Thursday evening to introduce Cottonwood's new head coach, Greg Croshaw — yet the hot topic was Cate's dismissal.
"He is in it for the right reasons," said Vicki Johnson, Cottonwood High booster club president. "And it's not just about the starter. My son does not start. His grades are tracked just like Cooper Bateman's."
Cate told KSL he was asked to take all his equipment from the Cottonwood facilities, which we're told will be replaced with taxpayer money from the Granite School District.