Following an ongoing argument with a parent, and a string of events that followed, first year head coach Nick D’Angelo and his entire coaching staff at Coginchaug Regional HS (CT) quit last Tuesday citing “a hostile environment and false accusations” by dissatisfied parents and players.
There are a few different versions of what led up to this debacle.
According to the Middletown Press, after one of their games earlier this month, D’Angelo made the decision to reprimand a player and that decision led to a handful of seniors quitting, and parents showing up in the athletic director’s office with complaints about how the program was being run. Fox61 has a slightly different version, saying that the situation came to a head when a parent was shouting obscenities at D’Angelo from the stands. A nearby parent asked that he refrain from using that kind of language around his children, and that incited a fight that a player ended up getting involved in. D’Angelo then made the decision to suspend that player for two games, and that set off the chain of events that the Middletown Press reported.
The school then informed D’Angelo that they would have to suspend him and conduct an investigation into the complaints, and it was then that D’Angelo told the administration that he’d rather resign.
Normally that’s just the type of news that makes its way onto The High School Scoop page when it happens to end the season, but this situation is a little different.
Without a head coach, or coaching staff, the team was forced to forfeit their game on the 14th, and they still had one game left.
Superintendent Kathryn Veronesi, athletic director Nick Barbieri and the rest of the school administration banded together to put together a quality staff under some very adverse conditions just so the kids had a staff in place to play their last game. The staff will be led by interim head coach David DeRita, who is a former coach of a youth football team in the area.
“The priority in moving forward is to have the athletes complete their season safely with a skilled coaching staff,” Veronesi wrote in a letter to the community, which also pointed out that several area coaches came forward offering their help so that the kids could finish up their season on the right note.
I think that we can all agree that there’s a time and place for taking a stand for something you’re passionate about, but leaving a bunch of innocent kids that have worked their tail off all season doesn’t seem like one of those times to me. My hats go off to those area coaches that wanted to help out and do right for the kids.