The first head football coaching vacancy of the offseason in the York-Adams League apparently belongs to South Western.
On Monday night, Damian Poalucci confirmed to The York Dispatch that he resigned as head coach of the Mustangs on Monday morning and informed his players of his decision after school.
South Western athletic director Don Seidenstricker did acknowledge that Poalucci submitted his resignation on Monday, but declined to comment any further since the school board had not officially accepted his resignation and he was not at liberty to discuss personnel issues.
The next school board meeting for South Western is on Wednesday, which is when Poalucci's resignation is expected to be discussed by the board.
"You can't please everybody," Poalucci said. "You try to put the kids forward and do the best you can with the kids and put them in positions to succeed, and you do your best at that, and sometimes people don't understand that."
Poalucci spent his last 19 years as a coach within the Mustangs' program, but served as head coach for the last five seasons. In Poalucci's five years as head coach, he amassed a 25-27 overall record, making the District 3 playoffs in two of the five years. This past year, South Western went 4-6, the second losing season under Poalucci. His best season came in 2015, when the Mustangs went 7-4 overall, losing in the first round of the District 3 Class 4-A tournament to Hempfield, 23-21.
Poalucci's first year was in 2012, when he took over for Seidenstricker, who stepped down as the team's head coach following the 2011 season, when South Western won the York-Adams League Division I title. In his 14 seasons as an assistant with the Mustangs, Poalucci was part of five Division I championship teams, including the 2006 team that finished as the District 3 Class 3-A runner-up to Red Land, losing in the championship game, 21-12. South Western won at least a share of the Division I title for six consecutive seasons from 1992-97.
Under Seidenstricker, from 1989 through 2011, South Western won at least a share of 13 Division I titles.
"In the long run, I enjoyed my time," Poalucci said. "The kids were always the most important thing and that's what I tried to express to the kids today, because I didn't speak to them until 2:30 p.m. today, so the kids didn't know about this at all. This was totally my decision. I talked to administration and this isn't an administration thing. ... They totally support me in this decision and it was totally mine."
Poalucci will still teach at the high school, where he is the health and physical education teacher.
Poalucci said that the team began its offseason weight training program last week and he told his players that the timing of his resignation isn't ideal, but that it was ultimately a decision that he thought about for a while. He admitted that his meeting with the players was emotional, both on his part and from some of the members on the team.
"The biggest thing that I talked to the kids about was that I'm still there for them, just not in that head coach role," Poalucci said. "I would never turn my back on them. If they need me, I'm a phone call away or a trip down to the basement where my office is."
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org