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Accusations brought against former Bolingbrook girls hoops coach Tony Smith

Lawsuit claims Smith recruited six players to join his team at Homewood-Flossmoor

Published: Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 12:19 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 3:10 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Shaw Media file photo)
Tony Smith led Bolingbrook to four state titles and appearances in an additional two state championship games during his successful tenure as girls basketball coach. A lawsuit is alleging Smith recruited six players to play for him at Homewood-Flossmoor, where is currently in his first season as head coach.

FLOSSMOOR – Former Bolingbrook girls basketball coach Tony Smith is reported to be the target of a lawsuit accusing him of recruiting girls from his old team and Plainfield to play for Homewood-Flossmoor High School, where he now coaches.

Smith declined to comment Thursday on the allegations, which came from an unnamed player on the Homewood-Flossmoor High School girls' basketball team.

Homewood-Flossmoor High School had not received a copy of the lawsuit, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

"We're aware of a lawsuit and will fully cooperate with any investigative authority," spokeswoman Jodi Bryant said.

A member of the H-F girls basketball team identified only as Jane Doe is suing the school, charging that Smith recruited students from other schools, including four from Bolingbrook, one from Marist and one from Plainfield, according to media reports.

H-F's girls team is ranked first in the state in the latest Associated Press Class 4A rankings. The Vikings beat Bolingbrook on Tuesday, ending a Bolingbrook conference winning streak that dated back to 2006 and was started during Smith's tenure as Bolingbrook's head coach.

The suit accuses Smith of recruiting the Bolingbrook students he worked with last year, promising starting spots with the Vikings as well as help in college recruitment, according to reports. Recruiting for athletic purposes is prohibited by Illinois High School Association rules.

But Marty Hickman, the executive director of the IHSA, said in a news release issued Thursday that the organization is not currently investigating Homewood-Flossmoor.

"The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) provided eligibility rulings on each of the transfer students at Homewood-Flossmoor High School who have been referenced in the ongoing litigation," the statement reads. "All were granted eligibility in regards to the IHSA residence and transfer by-laws."

The statement said that the "IHSA retains the right to open an investigation at any time and could do so if any information is presented that indicates IHSA bylaws may have been violated.”

Current Bolingbrook girls varsity coach Chris Smith said he's a personal friend of the Homewood-Flossmoor coach.

"I don't feel like he did anything, but that's not my call or decision," Chris Smith said. 

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