When Wally Backman was hired earlier this week as manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, team officials knew of his background on the field but were apparently unaware that Backman had been arrested twice over the past five years, one a fourth-degree assault charge in 2001 and the other involving a charge of driving under the influence in 2000.
It was not until those incidents, as well as some of Backman's financial problems, were revealed in a story in The New York Times, that Backman's past caught up with him.
"I've made a few mistakes in my life, and I think everybody has," Backman told the Associated Press on Tuesday. "It's a matter of whether you learn from your mistakes and move on. That's what I'm doing."
None of the major professional sports leagues - Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association or the National Hockey League - conduct background checks on new coaches or team officials, leaving it to the individual organization to verify a new employee's resume.
"There's no league-wide systematic way of checking the accuracy of a resume for every employee," said Greg Aiello, the NFL's senior vice president for communications. "The employer can certainly do that. Each club can have its own approach. Hires down here, we would have our own policy."
Said NBA spokesman Tim Frank: "To my knowledge, we haven't had any situations like that."
Those who have are trying to learn from their mistakes.
After George O'Leary resigned within days of being named football coach at Notre Dame in December 2001 because of fabrications on his resume that went back more than two decades, the school immediately hired a firm to check the validity of the resumes of all new campus personnel.
"Even in hiring professors, we had not been in the practice of dealing with a professional firm that did that," associate athletic director John Heisler said this week from South Bend, Ind. "We are now not only doing that in terms of athletics, we are doing it in terms of anybody at the university. They verify resumes, especially in terms of academic credentials and things like that."
The scandal involving O'Leary developed when a reporter in New Hampshire looking to write a feature story on the new Notre Dame coach came to the realization that O'Leary had never played football at the University of New Hampshire as he had claimed.
Not only did O'Leary lose what is considered by many to be the most prestigious job in college football, but it also precipitated a rash of similar resignations and firings.
Two assistant coaches hired by O'Leary's replacement at Georgia Tech, Chan Gailey, were found to have inaccuracies in their resumes. One was fired and the sports information director was demoted.
In June 2002, former Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference commissioner Charles Harris never made it to the news conference where he was to be introduced as Dartmouth's new athletic director when inaccuracies popped up on his resume.,
In 2003, Georgia assistant coach Jim Harrick Jr. was reprimanded when it was discovered that he had embellished his background as a player. Harrick was later fired on a much more serious charge of academic fraud, a scandal that widened and eventually cost his father, Jim, his job as Georgia's head coach.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.