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RHS head football coach resigns
May 2, 2013 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer
Riverton High School's head football coach Jeremy McCormick has resigned under pressure according to officials at a press conference Wednesday evening.
"He believes at this point it is in the best interest of the program and that the students would be best served to move forward in that direction," Fremont County School District 25 superintendent Terry Snyder said. "(He) put the program before himself in this situation. He said, 'I think this is what is needed at this time.'"
McCormick was not present at the press conference, and he did not return phone calls from The Ranger on Wednesday or Thursday.
His resignation comes after a tumultuous off-season during which seven assistant football coaches resigned or were asked by McCormick not to return to coach the Wolverines in the 2013-14 season. School officials confirmed Thursday that six of those seven assistant coaches were hired after McCormick began as head coach in 2008.
"We've spent the last week and a half talking with the coaches involved, and I included high school administration," Fremont County School District 25 superintendent Terry Snyder said during the Wednesday press conferences. "We wanted to speak directly to those involved."
He said he invited football players to meet with him as well, but none of the students accepted the offer.
Snyder said he talked to McCormick on Tuesday evening, and on Wednesday morning McCormick submitted his resignation. The former coach reportedly met with his players on Wednesday afternoon.
In five seasons as Riverton's head coach, McCormick's record was 18-27 overall (excluding week-zero games) and 1-4 in Class 3-A state playoff games. He is the states high school football Class 3-A East conference coach of the year.
Snyder commended parents, coaches and everyone else involved for remaining calm while school officials investigated complaints about the RHS football program.
"There is emotion involved, (but) no one has called anybody an angry name," Snyder said. "They have been diplomatic in the process in all parts."
He said he has heard support over the past week for McCormick and for the assistant coaches at RHS.
"I think all of the parties involved believe there is a shared responsibility on how we got here," Snyder said. "It is unfortunate that we are where we are."
Jay Reddon, who expressed his concerns about RHS football along with other citizens at an April 23 school board meeting, said he came to Wednesday's press conference prepared to accept any decision the district might make.
"I'm very satisfied with how Terry Snyder and the board handled the situation," Reddon said. "My concern is how the kids are treated in general by the coaches."
Snyder plans to begin the process of filling open positions on the RHS coaching staff immediately, beginning with the head coaching spot. He said incoming RHS principal John Griffith and RHS activities director Jeremy Hill will review internal and external head coach candidates and make their recommendation to Snyder, who will suggest a pick for the FCSD25 Board of Trustees.
Once the new head coach is in place, he or she will interview the two assistant coaches currently under contract - longtime coach Randy Weber and newly hired coach Keith Brauneis - as well as other potential assistants, including any of the previous assistant coaches who may be interested in the job.
From now on, Snyder said, an incoming head coach will be able to pick his or her own assistants upon hire.
"We have looked at all of our actions and we believe there are things for us to modify as to how we deal with our coaches," Snyder said. "That's all under review."
When asked whether he was satisfied with the district's handling of the situation, Snyder said that there are lessons to be learned.
"There were opportunities to have (acted differently) along the way by everybody," Snyder said. "The school district has responsibility in that also."
Snyder added that the RHS football team is looking ahead now, with summer practice and football camp not far off. Hill, who did not attend Wednesday's press conference, said administrators will continue to make decisions about the football program based on the best interest of the players.
"We have to look at how we move forward and not dwell and look back on what transpired today," Hill said Wednesday evening.