Local News

Former NCSU Diving Coach Taken Into Custody By Federal Immigration Agents

Posted Updated

GOLDSBORO, N.C. — Former North Carolina State diving coach John Candler was being held in the Johnston County jail Friday, one day after federal immigration agents took him into custody and two days after the university accepted the Scarborough, England, native's resignation.

A spokeswoman for the Johnston County Jail confirmed that Candler, 63, was being held there on an immigration-enforcement matter.

Candler's attorney, Lynn Calder, said they will pursue a bond hearing with a federal immigration court judge in Atlanta.

Calder questioned why he was being detained now.

"They have never sought to detain him before," Calder said, "and there's nothing new going on here -- in terms of any new charges."

Calder said Candler has been a legal permanent resident of the United States since the early to mid-1960s. He applied for citizenship once, Calder said, but it was not granted.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, Candler was found to be deportable when he declined to include his criminal history on his application for citizenship. He has two convictions for taking indecent liberties with a minor.

Candler's case has been with the immigration courts dating back to 2002. Because he resigned from his job, Homeland Security considered him a flight risk.

Candler resigned from his coaching position Wednesday. He will remain with the athletic department in an administrative capacity until he retires March 31.

He coached 16 All-Americas, 49 Atlantic Coast Conference champions and one Olympian in his 36 years as the diving coach at N.C. State.

An investigation into his past was triggered by an e-mail message sent Nov. 19 to university Chancellor Marye Anne Fox's office by Jane Schneider, 53, of East Lansing, Mich.

Candler pleaded guilty to indecent liberties with a 12-year-old girl in Ann Arbor, Mich., 37 years ago. Circuit court records from Washtenaw County, Mich., show Candler completed five years of probation without any violations.

He also pleaded guilty in 1985 to indecent liberties with a 15-year-old Wake County girl and received a suspended sentence. Hewas ordered to undergo therapy after the second conviction and served three years of probation.

N.C. State officials have declined to comment on whether Candler's personnel file contained any evidence that the university knew about his 1966 conviction, which occurred before his employment at N.C. State.

N.C. State athletics director Lee Fowler declined to comment Thursday on Candler's detention.

Candler said Wednesday he told N.C. State officials about his first guilty plea during his interviews in 1968 for an instructor's position in the university's physical education department. He also said that school officials encouraged him to plead guilty to the 1985 charge "to get it out of the media."

Copyright 2023 by WRAL.com and the Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.