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High School Sports

In 1999, two hazings clouded the Service High School football season

  • Author: Beth Bragg
  • Updated: August 23, 2018
  • Published August 22, 2018

It's been more than a decade since a hazing at an Anchorage high school has made headlines, and nearly two decades since two hazing incidents in one season stained the reputation of one of Alaska's most successful football programs.

In 1999, Service High's march to a third straight state championship was tainted by two hazing incidents that reportedly occurred during road trips that season.

Nine upperclassmen, including the coach's son, were suspended from the team for a hazing incident that happened during a road trip to Washington.

While authorities were investigating what happened in Washington, they discovered another instance of hazing happened when the team traveled to Hawaii for a game. Five of the nine players originally suspended were subsequently hit with additional suspensions and missed the state championship game.

At the time, Service principal Steve Cline said what happened in Hawaii was more severe than what happened in Washington. One of the players suspended in the Washington hazing told the Daily News that a freshman had his feet duct-taped together and toothpaste put in his hair.

The month after the 1999 season ended, head coach Byron Wilson resigned, giving no reason for his departure after nearly 30 years at the school. In seven seasons as the Service football coach, he was 56-13 with three consecutive state championships.

The 1999 episodes were by far Anchorage's highest-profile high school hazings in the last quarter-century or more.

In 2005, nine upperclassmen at West High were suspended for hazing freshmen by paddling them. The acts were described as initiations and were not connected to any team or sport.

Later that same year in Wasilla, a high school administrator suspended the entire varsity hockey team for two weeks after players gave a teammate a cookie laced with laxatives.

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