A coach at a suburban Chicago football program in the midst of a 9-1, conference championship season has resigned just two days before the start of the playoffs, stepping down amidst widespread unrest within his team.
As reported by the Post-Tribune and Northwest Indiana Times, Valparaiso (Ind.) football coach Dave Coyle resigned after five years at the helm of the Vikings program, citing dysfunction within his program. The malaise peaked during the prior week when a number of football players walked out of the team’s practice, leaving their pads in front of Coyle’s office.
The complaint was allegedly connected to a disciplinary incident which played out during a practice, with the team’s seniors registering their disapproval by leaving their pads and refusing to take part in practices.
Coyle’s departure officially brings to an end the coach’s career with Valparaiso at 28-31, though he captured Duneland Athletic Conference titles in both 2015 and this season.
The now-former coach has yet to issue a comment regarding his departure, or whether he will consider coaching again at another school in the near future.
Assistant coach Bill Marshall has been named the interim head coach, a role he claimed he was taking on with both confidence and a sense of reticence.
“I’ve followed the preparation (coaches Mark Hoffman and Coyle) put into games, the Xs and Os, the camaraderie amongst the coaching staff, interacting with kids, practice planning,” Marshall told the Northwest Indiana Times. “Obviously, this isn’t an ideal position, but looking back, I would say that’s prepared me for this. I used the analogy of why horses have blinders on. They know other horses are here, but it keeps their eyes focused on what’s ahead. The goal is five weeks from now.”