The Spartans are now the fourth football team in the York-Adams League to have a coaching vacancy in the young offseason.
Brian Hanson's tenure as the varsity football coach for York Tech lasted all of four months.
Now, the Spartans are the fourth York-Adams League team searching for a head coach, after Hanson and his entire staff didn't have their contracts renewed following the 2015 season.
Like many schools in York County, Tech opens all of its extracurricular activity positions at the end of every season, with the coach given the option to re-apply. However, according to Hanson, during his exit evaluation following the 2015 season, he was given a one on a one-to-three scale in every category except football knowledge, where he earned a two. One was lowest evaluation score and three was the highest.
"You know when you're leaving in your evaluation if you are coming back or not," Hanson said following Tuesday's Joint Operating Committee meeting. "My evaluation was pretty poor — I mean, very poor — and it was quite the shock to that."
Hanson had just completed his first year as the Spartans' varsity head coach, guiding the team to a 2-8 record.
Despite the poor mark, some parents and players felt encouraged by the job done by Hanson and his staff. They believed the program was turning around for the better. Hanson took over the varsity position in mid-July after the previous head coach, Matt Glennon, resigned late in the offseason.
Tuesday night, at the JOC meeting, several parents and players came out in support of Hanson, including a few who spoke in front of the committee asking why he was not being brought back. They wanted the committee to be held more accountable for the constant turnover within the long-suffering football program.
"The kids hate it," said Guy Achtzehn, who was an assistant coach with Tech from 2007 through 2012 and was the longest-tenured coach in the last 20 years. "The kids absolutely get crushed every time (a coach is let go.) ... You can't come to a place like York Tech and turn the culture around and go 10-0 in your first year. You gotta get the kids out. They gotta believe in you. They gotta have your back. You gotta have theirs. You've gotta understand that it's going to take building, and we haven't had that in how many years here?"
Of the parents who spoke, all of them cited problems with school's athletic director, Rob Caruso, and his inability to effectively communicate with students or parents. Two of them also cited concerns over his lack of sensitivity to the diverse population at the school.
Caruso failed to return multiple email and phone messages left for him.
Christine DiGirolamo, whose daughter Nichole has been a manager for the football team all three years she's been at the school, was a member of the booster club for the team and was disappointed when she found out at the team banquet that Hanson and his staff would not return. She also expressed displeasure in the constant firing and hiring of coaches after just one or two years in the position.
"I've seen this program start to take some traction and then, all of a sudden, it just falls apart," DiGirolamo said in a phone interview on Monday. "...Over the last several years, even when my daughter has been there, I think they've been through four or five coaches. They never seem to make it past one or two years."
Prior to taking over as the varsity head coach for the 2015 season, Hanson was involved with the Spartans' football program for the prior two years as the ninth-grade coach in 2013 and then as an assistant under Glennon in 2014.
While the JOC committee sat back and endured several personal attacks from the parents at Tuesday's meeting, Committee Director David Thomas did say that he and the rest of the committee are "committed to football."
Meanwhile, Achtzehn believes that it's up to the committee members to back up their words by showing that they're willing to support the players and coaches.
"You have great kids here. There are great athletes here," Achtzehn said. "They've gotta want to play and they do not want to play in the current environment because it's not important to them because the school doesn't make it important to them. They're treated like they did something wrong and are being treated as if they're bad."
Along with York Tech, York High, New Oxford and Kennard-Dale are all currently without head coaches as the offseason gets started.
Hanson did say that he has some other coaching options moving forward, but didn't say where or for what positions. However, he knows that the team has promise moving forward, which was one of the main reasons he took the job on such short notice.
"I love the kids," he said. "There is promise in this program. There absolutely is. We are the largest school and have kids from all walks of life. I've said it in other interviews, but it's truly the kids. They work so hard."
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org