Nalen, who was about to enter his second season as head coach, was not at Friday night's opening game, which Saugus lost at Amesbury, 30-12. Interim head coach Mike Mabee, along with assistant Chris Coutu and coaches from the town's youth football program, directed the team, according to reports.
School Committeewoman Elizabeth Marchese confirmed the suspension Saturday night, but would not comment on the nature of the investigation or how far it has gone. Other reports, however, have suggested that the incident involves hazing and that the police have been brought in to investigate.
Marchese voiced strong support for Nalen.
"Anthony Nalen is one of the most caring, and dedicated coaches I have ever had the honor to know," said Marchese. "He has done more for our players, families, and Saugus football in his short tenure than most."
Efforts to reach Saugus Police were also unsuccessful.
Last season, his first with the Sachems, Nalen's team finished with a 4-7 record. Saugus went 1-5 through its first six games before victories in three of their final four contests. The Sachems were awarded a MIAA Football Sportsmanship Award in 2017.
Nalen was hired as Saugus' head coach in March of 2017, replacing former longtime Sachems coach Mike Broderick. He landed his first head coaching role at Matignon High School in 2013. Nalen’s head coaching career also includes stints at Bishop Connolly (2015) and Randolph High School, where he spent the 2016 season coaching the Blue Devils. Nalen, a native of Everett, was a three-sport athlete at Pope John. He was inducted into the Pope John Athletics Hall of Fame last year. He played college football at Springfield College, where he quarterbacked the Pride and graduated in 2010. According to the Saugus football team's website, Nalen is a computer science teacher at Belmonte Middle School.
Sports editor Harold Rivera contributed to this report.