The Coginchaug High School football team is returning to the field Monday with new coaches to see them through the remainder of the season after the entire coaching staff resigned amid allegations against the head coach.
Upon hearing about Coach Nick D'Angelo's resignation and Coginchaug's situation, area coaches reached out to the school's athletic director to help.
"Several offers were made to the Athletic Director and school administration from area coaches who were aware of the situation and wanted the athletes to be able to finish their season given the unforeseen events," Region 13 Superintendent Kathryn Y. Veronesi said. "This gracious show of support has been a welcome event in a difficult time."
D'Angelo resigned after learning of "allegations" coaches and players made against him regarding an incident that happened during a night game in Stafford on Nov. 6 that launched an investigation, Veronesi said. His assistant coaches also resigned.
The district didn't get into specifics about what the allegations are, but D'Angelo previously said that he suspended a senior offensive lineman for leaving the field and cursing at a fan in the stands during the third quarter of the Nov. 6 night game.
“We talked and decided two weeks was merited, which meant his season was over, his high school career was over,” D’Angelo said.
D’Angelo resigned last Tuesday after he says parents of seniors upset by the suspension approached school administrators calling for an investigation into the first-year coach. His entire coaching staff has also stepped down and the team forfeited last Friday’s game against Granby High School.
“I did not leave because I was afraid of the allegations. I left because power was shifted over to the parents,” D'Angelo said, adding, “How could I preach accountability to my players, to be held accountable for your actions when now the parents just set a precedent anything I do or say as a coach they can question me."
He said he was blindsided by the allegations.
“One hundred percent blindsided, one hundred percent,” D’Angelo said of the allegations. “They stacked the box on me. They came in with false accusations and lies”
Veronesi said school administrators met Thursday with parents and players and that an investigation is ongoing into the allegations against D'Angelo despite his departure.
D’Angelo told NBC Connecticut he asked the rest of the coaching staff to stay with the team.
“And when they heard the allegations they were like no way, we’re with him, there’s no way this happened and I think it speaks merit my entire staff left,” D’Angelo said, adding two of the coaches who quit played for Coginchaug.
Veronesi said that all coaches "are given a copy of the Connecticut Code of Professional Responsibility for Teachers for which they are expected to adhere."
"This code covers the expected responsibility to the student, the profession, and the community," she said. "Regional School District 13 maintains an expectation of these responsibilities for all staff employed. Additionally, for over a decade the District has operated on a foundation of Core Ethical Values at every level of the organization from students to staff; these values include respect, responsibility, kindness, honesty and courage."
Veronesi didn't say who will be coaching the team for the rest of the season, but she did say the team will close the season with a game at The Gilbert School in Winsted on Thanksgiving Day at 10 a.m.
"The school and community are looking forward to resuming the football schedule," Veronesi said.