Friday Night Rights: Cheshire Football Coach Resigns

Mark Ecke, the extraordinarily successful football coach at Cheshire High School, resigned this week rather than face a hearing before the Board of Education over his proposed termination

Ecke had been suspended since a junior varsity lacrosse game on May 3, during which his son was injured after a violent hit, triggering Ecke to reportedly scold the referees.  Local police were called, however Ecke, who was watching the game as a spectator, left on his own volition.  He was subsequently suspended by the superintendent of schools.  Chip Malafronte has a good column on Ecke and his resignation.

This case sheds light on a few of the legal issues facing high schools coaches:

  • Head Coach of a high school team is a high-profile and influential position, and coaches may be held accountable for events that occur while off duty;
  • A coach, if terminated, may have the right to a hearing under Connecticut General Statute Section 10-222e; however, this statute does not prevent the termination of a coach on grounds of moral misconduct, insubordination, a violation of the rules of the board of education, or due to the cancellation of a sport; and
  • Appeal rights aside, most high school coaches operate on one-year contracts, which provide little leverage when fighting a termination.

Ecke won three state championships as an assistant to Steve Addazzio (currently the head coach at Temple University) and won three championships as head coach.  He leaves Cheshire with a career record was 118-64-3.

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