New coaching staff hired so Coginchaug football team can finish season

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DURHAM–After a tumultuous week, it was announced on Monday that the Coginchaug High School football team would have the opportunity to play its last game of the season.

Superintendant Kathryn Veronesi said that Regional School District 13 athletic director Nick Barbieri and the school administration at Coginchaug worked together to gather a qualified coaching staff so the team can finish its season after the entire coaching staff quit last week.

The interim head coach is David DeRita, a former coach for a youth football league team in Durham.

The exodus of the coach staff was due to a spat between a parent and coach Nick D’Angelo, who said that the parent was cursing at him at one of the games. When another parent asked that person to stop using inappropriate language in front of his children, the parent became irate, and his son joined in the fight. D’Angelo then suspended the student for two games, after which a parent made allegations that D’Angelo had bullied students all year.

After those allegations, which are still being investigated, D’Angelo and his staff quit.

The team began practicing again on Monday, and will play its final game at 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving day. The match will be played at the Gilbert School in Winsted.

“They look great,” Veronesi told FOX 61 shortly after she left the field, where she went to watch practice. “So happy to see them out there.”

“The priority in moving forward is to have the athletes complete their season safely with a skilled coaching staff,” Veronesi wrote in a letter to the school community.

Veronesi also said in the letter that several offers were made to athletic director Barbieri, as well school administration, from area coaches who became aware of situation and wanted to help the kids finish up their season.