The investigation involving C.O. Bastian High School principal and Pahranagat Valley High School head coach Ken Higbee should be wrapped up in a few more weeks, according to Lincoln County District Attorney Daniel Hooge.
Hooge is not directly involved with the investigation, but has been in contact with the Nevada Investigation Division, which informed him that it is close to being completed.
Hooge declined to provide details regarding the nature of the investigation. He said a complaint was brought to him, as well as Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee, late last year. He added that when it became apparent allegations were potentially criminal in nature, the sheriff, in consultation with Hooge, contacted the state in order to have the problem investigated by a neutral, third party. Had it stayed local, the sheriff’s department would have been in charge of investigating. Hooge cited passions on both sides of the county as a primary reason to send the complaint to the state level.
“It’s just really difficult when you’re in a small county,” he said, citing various conflicts of interest, including sheriff’s deputies who have spouses that work for the school district, for example.
A crowd of Pahranagat Valley residents attended the Lincoln County School District board meeting on Sept. 8 to publicly complain, asking that Higbee be allowed to coach on the sidelines. Higbee has been on paid administrative leave since last year. He is running practice and communicating with coaches from the stadium tower during games. The coach indicated this would be the final year as PVHS’ head coach. His team has won 96-straight games and garnered national attention over the past few years.
Community members also decried the way the investigation process has been handled, how long it has taken, the lack of communication from the school district and other local officials, as well as the animosity between the north and south part of the county.
Once the state has completed its work, it will send its findings to Hooge’s office, who will likely refer them to state attorney general. “That’s my feeling at this time,” he said.
If there are any charges, they would be filed by the attorney general to the Seventh Judicial Court in Lincoln County, Hooge said.