DURHAM-- Coginchaug Regional High School is looking for a new football coaching staff at a most inopportune time.
First-year head coach Nick D’Angelo’s football team was scheduled to play its final home game this Saturday, but that's been canceled because D’Angelo and his coaching staff quit this week after an avalanche of allegations.
“I suspended a kid for an incident that happened Friday night,” said D’Angelo, who would not discuss exactly what the incident was.
Sources tell FOX 61 a parent who has berated D'Angelo throughout the season started yelling expletives at the coach during their game at Stafford. A fan who was with children asked the parent to watch his mouth, and then an argument ensued. That’s when a senior player for Coginchaug raced toward the bleachers, yelling expletives at the fan arguing with his father.
“I was backed (by the school) for my decision to suspend him,” said D’Angelo, who suspended the player for the final two games. “Tuesday, I was brought in to the principal’s office because a group of parents, friends of the suspended player, wanted him reinstated,” said D’Angelo. He added that several players who wanted to support their teammate threatened to quit.
But the stunner, according to sources, was that parents accused D'Angelo of having bullied the players throughout the season. The school's investigation now allegedly includes the Department of Children and Families, according to FOX 61 sources.
“I had been the coach there since January and I haven't been approached by a single parent all year for anything I've supposedly done,” said D’Angelo.
When D’Angelo was told he faced suspension pending an investigation, he and his staff, which includes two Coginchaug graduates, resigned.
“Not that I was afraid of it, by any means. But, I knew that would empower certain people. And I knew that I would lose my team,” D’Angelo said.
“I never ever would've imagined that the coach would've resigned with the coaching staff and our season would be done,” said Lisa Tregoning , mother of Coginchaug senior running back Parker Tregoning, who leads the state in rushing with 1,698 yards in eight games.
School officials tell FOX 61 there is still hope that the team will be able to find a temporary certified high school football coach in time to get the team for the final game on the schedule, which is set for Thanksgiving morning at Gilbert/Northwest Regional.
D'Angelo says it's sad that he would be accused of bullying when that's exactly what he tries to prevent every day in his job as a Hamden police officer in the youth division.
“I sat in a meeting and was told that I don't care about kids,” said D’Angelo, whose eyes were tearing up. “I received 30 text messages from ex players and I don't care about kids?”
Dr. Kathryn Veronesi, the superintendent of Regional School District 13, says despite D’Angelo’s resignation the investigation into the parents’ allegations against the coach will continue.