** See prior coverage in the video above.
AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — Akron Public Schools has confirmed to FOX 8 that Ellet High School football coach Steve Fasig has been placed on leave following the drowning death of Toshaye Pope during the team’s lake outing last month.
Pope had joined his teammates for an outing at Melanie Lake, near Uniontown, on the afternoon of July 21. His parents, Timothy and Victoria Washington, told FOX 8 they believe the group of nearly 50 athletes was being supervised by one coach, who later left.
Pope drowned in a portion of the lake that was 14 feet deep, according to the Washingtons.
“We never took him anywhere past 5 feet because Toshaye couldn’t really swim,” said Victoria.
The family’s attorney, Allen Tittle, said lifeguards were “nowhere to be found when Toshaye went under.”
Tittle released a statement Tuesday on news of Fasig’s leave:
“It is ironic that it was not until several news stories came out about Toshaye’s tragic death, that Akron Public Schools took some action, in the form of placing Coach Fasig on paid administrative leave, in furthering its investigation. While the old saying, ‘better late than never,’ holds true here, Toshaye’s family hopes Akron Public Schools truly conducts a comprehensive investigation into the events, choices, and system failures that lead to Toshaye’s death. We all want answers — placing Coach Fasig on leave is the first step in doing so,” Tittle is quoted.
“Being a high school football coach is not about wins or losses — it is about using the vehicle of football to teach student athletes life lessons, like doing the right thing, even when it is difficult to do so. Hopefully, Akron Public Schools sets a good example going forward by doing just that.”
Melanie Lake management, in a statement released after the incident, said: “At the time of the accident, we had five lifeguards on duty. We take all safety measures possible, including meeting state and county regulations, and maintaining current appropriate permits! OUR deepest sympathies go out to the family and loved ones of this young man who have suffered this horrific loss!”