Without warning or explanation, first-year Elsie Allen football coach Bill Wight and an assistant were fired Monday evening, sparking questions about the hapless program’s future.
Wight stepped in early this season after another head coach took the job briefly but abruptly quit during spring practices, before the season even began.
But on Monday, school Principal Mary Gail Stablein told athletic director Madison Lott to cancel football practice while she fired Wight and his offensive line coach, Shaun Montecino.
Neither man was given an explanation, Wight said. He said he still hadn’t received one as of Tuesday afternoon.
Contacted by phone Tuesday, Stablein repeatedly refused to confirm the firings or what led to them, saying it was a personnel issue. She also refused to say who would coach the team for the final two games.
Lott, however, confirmed that he will serve as head coach for the final two weeks of the season. Lott coached last year, but gave up the post to concentrate on boys basketball and his job as AD.
He referred questions about the coaching change to Stablein, but confirmed that he wasn’t told why Wight and Montecino were let go.
“I don’t even know what transpired,” he said. “Who knows what the outcome will be with this.”
The Lobos are winless this year (0-4 in the Sonoma County League and 0-8 overall) and some weeks had trouble keeping enough kids academically eligible to compete, Wight said.
On Friday, just five days after the coaching shuffle, the Lobos are scheduled to play undefeated and top-ranked Analy (4-0, 8-0) at home in what is expected to be a massively lopsided win for the Tigers. The Lobos are scheduled to finish the season Nov. 6 at Sonoma Valley.
“I have every anticipation of playing and the kids doing the best they can,” Lott said of the final two weeks.
Without an explanation, Wight said he and others are left to speculate as to what happened between Friday night’s 59-9 loss at Petaluma and Monday’s scheduled practice.
He heard rumors that the administration was concerned about a player safety issue on Friday. A couple of players were checked out for possible concussions, but Wight said he did not put a seriously injured player back in the game.
“Anybody who knows me, knows I would never do that,” he said. “I’m down 50 points, I’m not trying to win or anything at that point.”
Wight suggested that, if safety issues were a concern, someone may have misinterpreted comments on the sideline or coaches’ questions to athletes about whether they could remain in the game.
But he said Stablein didn’t ask for any information about injuries or any other incidents on Monday, just told him: “We’re letting you go.” He said she declined to say why. Coaches, who are paid a small stipend, are at-will employees who can be let go for no reason.
One Lobo player, who asked that his name not be used, on Tuesday defended both coaches and said no one was subbed back in the game after being hurt.
Elsie Allen has an athletic trainer who attends home games and occasionally an away game, Lott said.
Wight said the trainer was on the sidelines Friday. Coaches also receive concussion training.