News that the Salisbury High School’s varsity football coach resigned was met with a sense of relief by the booster club president, who said his group will support the next coach “100 percent.”
Responding to questions about Rob Sawicki’s resignation as head coach, Butch Rossetti, the booster club leader, said “We’re very happy that it went the way it did and that it went as quickly as it did.”
Last Wednesday, Rossetti and other football parents and booster club members complained to the school board that Sawicki had humiliated players and undermined the morale of the team, which won only one game this year. Efforts to reach Sawicki last week and again today were unsuccessful.
The Salisbury Patch story about those complaints was followed by a flurry of comments – both for and against Sawicki – from people who said they were football parents, players, former players and others.
Earlier today, the school district released a statement saying Sawicki had resigned as head coach as of late Friday afternoon, citing personal reasons. Reached by phone, Monica Deeb, Salisbury’s director of student activities, asked that any questions be submitted by e-mail. She said she would respond after discussing them with High School Principal Heather Morningstar.
Rossetti said the booster club had taken its complaints to Sawicki himself, as well as to Deeb and members of the district administration, but were still frustrated.
“We didn’t want to hurt anybody, we just wanted to help our 44 players,” Rosetti said. “We wanted to make sure they had an opportunity to grow in their careers.”
He said he did not know if administrators or board members asked Sawicki to resign.
That it happened so quickly means there should be less tension for the players when they start their winter weight training in mid-December, Rossetti said. The end-of-season team banquet will go on as planned on Demember 11 at The Meadows banquet hall in Lower Saucon Township.
As for how the district will go about finding a new head coach, Rossetti said: “The only thing we do know is a position will be posted and the school board will handle hiring. Whoever the board brings in -- and his coaching staff -- we will support them 100 percent.”
Asked about the fate of the current assistant coaches, Rossetti said “We assume the new head coach is going to bring in a completely new staff.”
Some of those people who supported Sawicki in the online discussion on Salisbury Patch suggested the parents who complained were whiners who were upset that their kids didn’t get more playing time. But Rossetti, whose son is a starter, said: “Playing time was never part of the issue here.”
Last week some booster club members suggested that the board investigate their claims that Sawicki had humiliated players, used derogatory language and failed to reach out to injured players. Asked about whether the board should still investigate that, Rossetti said the resignation closes the matter as far as he’s concerned.
Sawicki has been head coach for the last four years and before that spent four years as an assistant coach. The Falcons were plagued by injuries the last two years, going 0-10 last year and 1-9 this year.
Rossetti acknowledged that the poor win/loss record was an issue, but not the only issue. “You want to build a program where the boys feel good about themselves, where they feel they can compete,” he said.