It’s official: When the New Rochelle High School varsity football team hits the field this weekend in the state championship game, it will be without longtime coach Lou DiRienzo, who was reassigned from the district earlier this month.
DiRienzo said that he will be rooting for his team on Sunday, Dec. 1, when they square off against McQuaid Jesuit at 3 p.m. at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse for the title.
After meeting with the school district’s counsel and Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources earlier this week, DiRienzo announced that he will not be on the sideline with his team.
In a statement, DiRienzo said that he understands the district’s concerns, and wants the community to place the focus not on him, or the decision to reassign him, but on the student-athletes on the field.
“During the course of my interview on Monday which I attended along with my attorney and FUSE representatives, I came to understand the Board’s and Superintendent’s concerns," DiRienzo said in a statement. "Please know that although I appreciate the kind words and support from many in New Rochelle, I ask that you refrain from any continued public demonstrations and focus on our team who is attempting to do something historic for the community on Sunday."
The New Rochelle School District announced that the popular coach was being unexpectedly ousted late on Wednesday, Nov. 13, saying that DiRienzo had been “reassigned from his teaching and coaching responsibilities.”
Few details have emerged regarding the reassignment, as the Board of Education, Superintendent Laura Feijoo, and DiRienzo have been mostly tight-lipped during the process.
This week, a police spokesman in Yonkers confirmed that DiRienzo is currently under investigation for an incident with a student in the 1980s, though the coach will not face any potential criminal charges.
“Last week the Yonkers Police initiated an investigation into allegations brought forward by a former local high school student, alleging unlawful contact between the student and a former coach/teacher," he said. "The incidents are alleged to have occurred in the late 1980s.
“I accept the continuing reassignment and recognize that I cannot return to the sidelines while we try to work toward a resolution. I do not want this ongoing matter to serve as a distraction to our outstanding football team and coaches, all of whom I am extremely proud of.
“I look forward to the team and coaches representing New Rochelle High School and the New Rochelle community in the New York State Championship football game.”
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