After six years at the helm, Frank Marcucio turned in a letter of resignation to the Westhill administration this morning, resigning as the head football coach at the school.
“I am sad. I really am. I feel like I wasted six years of my life because the athletic director did not appreciate anything we did here, at all. I know the kids did, the parents did and the media did, but it’s pathetic how the administration didn’t,” Marcucio said. “I just can’t do this anymore when I feel like I am being undermined by the athletic director. They have created a toxic environment and I have lost coaches because of it. I can’t do it with a good conscience when I can’t give a full effort to the kids because I am constantly fighting the AD.”
Marcucio said he clashed with the Athletic Director Dick Cerone this past season over a variety of topics ranging from getting rosters online in a timely manner to academic programs put in place by Marcucio not getting the support he felt they deserved, as well as other internal grievances Marcucio felt undercut him as a coach.
Prior to being named athletic director last year, Cerone was the Westhill football coach before being let go and Marcucio being hired in 2012.
Cerone did not immediately return voicemails or emails seeking comment.
Marcucio is stepping down, in part, because he was passed over for the Westhill athletic director job which became available this spring as the Stamford schools made the position an administrative job for the first time.
Upon finding out he would not be hired for the AD job Monday morning, Marcucio immediately turned in his letter of resignation.
“This was the third time I applied for the (athletic director) job and third time I didn’t get it,” Marcucio said. “I have the certification needed to be athletic director and felt I deserved the job. In fact, I have three separate certifications. I have been coaching for 38 years and I am getting tired and would like to be able to impart the things I have learned to younger coaches as the AD. When they told me this morning I was not getting it, with tears in my eyes, I told them I would be giving them my letter of resignation.”
In six seasons as head coach at Westhill, Marcucio was 27-34 on the field (four victories were vacated in 2012 for use of an ineligible player).
Before coming to Westhill, Marcucio was an assistant at Holy Cross of Waterbury (1981-88), Shelton (1989-99, including a Class LL title), Newtown (2000-04, with a state semifinal berth) and Wilbur Cross (2005-’06).
He was the head coach of Bassick for two seasons prior to becoming Cerone’s defensive coordinator at Westhill in 2011.
Westhill posted three seasons of 6-plus wins in Marcucio’s time as head coach, winning the city championship in 2013.
Marcucio, along with the Cernansky family, formed the program at Westhill known as the Purple PACT (Players Academic Counseling and Tutoring) with the focus on providing student athletes the resources to obtain academic success.
Westhill became the 20th member of the AthLife program and the only school in Connecticut and New England participating under Marcucio.
Westhill has seen the number of football players remaining academically eligible increase every year the Purple PACT and ATHlife program has been in place at the school.
His players speak highly of him, saying he provides much more to the student-athletes beyond the football field than many outside the program realize.
“Frank is one of the most dedicated people I have ever met. It is rare that someone would invest so much of themselves in a program,” Westhill graduating safety Noah Klein said. “He did so many things people never see like driving an hour out of his way to give kids rides home. He is providing care for kids who need it and sometimes aren’t getting it anywhere else.”
Marcucio said it is painful to leave his players, but felt he had no other recourse.
“I am so proud of the kids we had here,” Marcucio said. “I want to thank all the kids from the bottom of my heart for everything they gave to the program the last six years. What we have accomplished with these kids academically and in the community and with AthLife, is what I am most proud of. The kids worked so hard, it’s phenomenal.”
Marcucio is still a business teacher at Westhill and said he is leaving for a family vacation Tuesday with no idea where his life in football will take him next.
“I will go a different direction and land on my feet,” he said. “I just can’t go on like this here.”