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.