WILMINGTON, N.C. – The school district that employed a 40-year-old high-school science teacher and cross-country coach who married a 16-year-old student could find no reason to fire him, school officials said.
Brenton Wuchae coached Windy Hager at South Brunswick High School, where she recently completed her sophomore year as one of the school's top runners.
Wuchae resigned his position and, according to a marriage license, married Hager after the girl's parents begrudgingly gave their consent.
Brunswick County Schools Superintendent Katie McGee said both the school system and the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office investigated Wuchae's case but did not come up with enough evidence that would merit charging or even firing the coach.
"As a lifelong educator, I am truly shocked and disheartened by what has transpired," McGee said.
Hager's parents, Dennis and Betty Hager, said they did all they could to keep the couple apart after noticing a deeper-than-usual friendship forming between them. The parents said they tried to intervene by talking to the coach, going to school officials, pleading with police and sheriff's office detectives, even other teachers and students at South Brunswick.
But the Hagers say they reluctantly signed a consent form allowing their daughter to marry her coach.
A local paper captured the pair's relationship in a story about Hager's running success. In the Nov., 8, 2006, article in the State Port Pilot, Hager said her success was due mostly to he coach (and now husband).
"He’s very encouraging. He’s always telling us how proud he is," Hager told the paper. "I’m proud of where I finished but he seems to be even more proud of me. He’s always been encouraging. That’s what makes him a great coach. He’s always motivated us; he’s always out there helping us."
The Brunswick County Board of Education approved Wuchae's resignation Tuesday — one week after Wuchae had filed it.
The school system hired Wuchae as a teacher and coach in August 2004 from Guilford County.
Wuchae and his new bride were at home Tuesday, resting on his living room floor watching TV. He declined to comment.
Editor's Note: A photo posted earlier in the day with this story incorrectly identified Brenton Wuchae. FOXNews.com regrets the error.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.