A high school football team in upstate New York chose to fire its head coach just days before the onset of the sectional playoffs.
As reported by the Press-Republican, AuSable Valley High School (Clintonville, NY) football coach Ed McCallister was fired Monday when he refused to resign from his position. McCallister was in his fourth year on the job, during which he accumulated a 9-24 record, including a long awaited Section VII Class C championship in 2015, the school’s first in nearly a decade.
Still, the program reached its nadir under McCallister in 2018, with the team finishing 1-6. The team’s lone victory came in McCallister’s final game at the helm, a narrow, 26-25 victory against Ticonderoga.
And yet, that final victory, too little, too late to save McCallister’s position, also begs a rather important question: Why would AuSable make a change now, at the very end of a long season with few hopes and prospects for a grandstanding finish, rather than just wait for 2019?
The decision is apparently connected to the disappointment of one freshman player who was not called up to the AuSable varsity and his parents’ reaction to that decision. Per the Press-Republican, McCallister promoted 10 players from the team’s junior varsity roster before the regular season finale. One particular freshman was not part of that group of 10 players, and when his parents complained, McCallister responded by promoting the entire junior varsity squad.
That move apparently angered school officials, who pulled McCallister into their office 15 minutes into Monday’s practice and dismissed him.
“My son (Isaac Rivers) and (Matt Pray), and I don’t know about any others yet, are quitting over this,” Kenneth Rivers, the father of Isaac Rivers, told the Press-Republican.
“It’s ridiculous that at the end of the year and their career for high school to quit for probably their last game of their lives all because the school wants to dictate (coaching decisions). It’s heartbreaking.”
For his part, McCallister made clear he has received enormous support since he was fired.
“My phone has blown up with former players contacting me and parents calling me,” McCallister told the Press-Republican.
“The thing that makes me feel good about this is to hear from my peers, my coaches in the league and to have them tell me that I got a raw deal.