Greenfield head football coach Shane Covington said he was “blindsided” in a report by WTMJ4 in Milwaukee after the school terminated him as football coach, student supervisor and weight room supervisor over concerns about his professionalism and interpersonal communication with students and staff.
Members of the football team have staged a protest, according to the report, gathering 600 signatures asking the district to reverse its decision. Covington’s departure — officially a resignation — was made official April 11.
His tenure at Greenfield lasted less than a calendar year after he was hired in June to take the reins from Joe Koch, who piloted Greenfield back to respectability as a football program and won the Woodland Conference East Division before departing for a job out of state. Covington maintained that success, leading the Hawks to another East Division championship, with a loss to Pewaukee in the unofficial Woodland title game.
The Hawks finished 7-4 overall and reached Level 2 of the WIAA playoffs.
Covington, 27, was a standout high-school football player at Milwaukee Riverside High School and played football at Indiana University as well as the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he was part of the 2011 Division III national champion Warhawks.
“I am ready for this type of opportunity, and I am well aware of what it takes to be a part of a winning program,” Covington said in a news release at the time of his hire. “It will be based on building positive relationships with players and parents and creating a family atmosphere in the football program.”
High school officials were monitoring social media Thursday to determine whether there will be a repeat of Wednesday’s student protest. Around noon Wednesday, roughly 100 players and other students rallied in the school atrium in Covington’s support, chanting his name.
No damage was done, said Cheryl Sanders, director of communications and marketing for the district. They carried no signs and police were not called, although the police liaison officer and all school administrators were present, she said.
Covington was hired as coach and as a part-time student supervisor monitoring study halls at the start of the school year.
The school district issued a statement saying that a new head football coach would be named in plenty of time for this year’s football season. The statement says simply that he resigned as coach and as a district employee.