Hidalgo ISD athletic director Monty Stumbaugh charged with assault

Monty Stumbaugh

Police arrested Hidalgo ISD Athletic Director Monty Stumbaugh on Friday and charged him with assault shortly after arresting a principal at the district for alleged witness tampering.

Hidalgo Police Chief Romeo Rodriguez told The Monitor at about 1 p.m. Saturday that Stumbaugh was in the process of being arraigned at court.

Police took Hidalgo Early College High School Principal Rafael Tinoco into custody Friday afternoon.

Tinoco and Stumbaugh’s employment status with the school district remains unclear as of Saturday afternoon.

According to the district, law enforcement transported Stumbaugh from his home to the Hidalgo Police Department that evening. The district, however, would not say in a statement whether Stumbaugh, who is among the winningest football coaches in the Rio Grande Valley, was arrested and said only that he had been “escorted.”

“Hidalgo ISD can confirm Athletic Director, Monty Stumbaugh was escorted to Hidalgo Police Department in the late evening,” a statement from the district said. “Hidalgo ISD is in full cooperation with the police department. As this is an ongoing investigation, the amount of information that is shared with the public is limited.”

Rodriguez did not rule out the possibility of additional arrests Friday and said a news conference is being planned.

KRGV reported that Stumbaugh’s arrest follows an administrative investigation into a complaint made against him by a parent and student from Tinoco’s school that cleared him of any wrongdoing.

In November 2022, Superintendent Xavier Salinas confirmed to The Monitor that Stumbaugh had been placed on administrative leave but denied reports of some kind of physical altercation.

Days before his arrest, Stumbaugh had announced plans to retire at the end of the school year.

Stumbaugh, a Laguna Vista resident who previously coached the Port Isabel Tarpons to perennial status and routine playoff visits, told media he wanted to be closer to home.

“Coach Stumbaugh has done a remarkable job here at Hidalgo ISD,” Albert Guerra, Executive Director for Human Resources & Operations at the district, wrote in a statement. “We are very thankful for him turning around our athletic program and our Pirate Football Team with three straight playoff appearances. We wish him well in his retirement and in everything he has planned for in his near future.”

Tensions have been high at Hidalgo ISD sporting events in recent weeks. On Feb. 10, the district placed soccer coach Ezequiel Morales on administrative leave, declining to comment further on the matter late last month.

Morales’ absence sparked protests by parents and athletes. On Feb. 28, players walked off the field in protest, refusing to play.

A Monitor reporter was present but Stumbaugh had that reporter escorted out of the stadium by security.