Hastings wrestling coach charged with embezzlement, theft of public funds

Hastings head wrestling coach and assistant principal Josh McLay has been charged with eight counts of embezzlement of public funds and eight counts of theft by swindle. Alec Hamilton / Forum News Service
Hastings head wrestling coach and assistant principal Josh McLay has been charged with eight counts of embezzlement of public funds and eight counts of theft by swindle. Alec Hamilton / Forum News ServiceAlec Hamilton / Forum News Service

HASTINGS, Minn. -- A Hastings High School assistant principal and head wrestling coach who allegedly misused donated funds was charged with multiple counts of embezzlement and theft of public funds on Tuesday, Feb. 12.

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that Josh McLay, 37, has been charged with eight counts of embezzlement of public funds and eight counts of theft by swindle over the alleged theft of over $13,900 for entertainment purposes from 2011 to 2018, according to a county attorney press release.

Backstrom alleged that McLay at times spent over $2,500 on trips that were supposed to be for coaching clinics, but instead were used for college football games and other personal expenses.

Concerns of misused district funds first arose in November when the school district completed an internal investigation into McLay’s alleged usage of district funds. McLay has been the high school assistant principal since 2016. He reached an agreement with the school board in November to step down as assistant principal and head wrestling coach at the end of this year and be placed as a district teacher next year.

McLay is set to appear in court at 9 a.m. on April 8 at the Dakota County Judicial Center in Hastings.