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A look at high school football throughout the state

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Changing nature of job has led to plethora of coaching vacancies in Connecticut

Since the high school football season ended in December, a coach calling it quits has become almost a daily occurrence.

At one point, there were as many as 23 vacancies in Connecticut. Some positions have been filled, but an opening remains at Masuk, where John Murphy stepped down after winning three state titles in 15 years with the Panthers.

“In my 20 years as a head high school coach at Staples, I’ve never seen 20 openings — ever,” Marce Petroccio said. “And I’ve been coaching 31 years (overall) and I can’t recall it either. That’s a lot of openings.”

Many who decided to step down cited family obligations as the primary reason, like Branford’s Mike Tracy, a father of three, who resigned after four seasons with the Hornets.
“No one feels good to see all these job openings,” Ansonia coach Tom Brockett said. “These schools, and towns, are losing some good guys.”

But other factors, like pressure from parents and school boards and increased duties in the offseason seem to play a role when a coach decides to stay or go.

Coaching has progressively become a full-time, year-round job, often with limited support from the school and little pay.

“There are so many pressures that make it difficult to coach,” West Haven coach Ed McCarthy said. “I don’t envy the young guys starting out.”

Brockett, who has two children, including a son born just last year, says balancing a teaching job, coaching and a family has become increasingly more difficult since he took over the Ansonia program in 2006.

“You’re gone until 7:30, 8 o’clock (at night), and if you have (young) kids they’re probably already in bed,” Brockett said. “When you get home, you still have work to do. You’re going over the practice schedule, films, reporters are calling.”


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