Syracuse, N.Y. — Skaneateles football coach Joe Sindoni, who coached the team to the 2017 state title, has been removed from that job.
The district has placed a notice of the job opening on its website, and a long Facebook post by a member of the school’s football booster club said Sindoni was fired.
Rob Bennett posted on Wednesday night that Sindoni was fired for his alleged role in a Thanksgiving Day “Turkey Bowl’’ football game between high school students and alumni. Parents subsequently said they are concerned the game was linked to a subsequent rise of positive Covid cases among high school students.
Bennett, who is also listed on the district’s website as an assistant coach of the modified football team, said Sindoni did not organize the game and was invited to it by players. Bennett wrote that Sindoni told the players to wear masks and play touch football instead of tackle.
Bennett wrote Sindoni received a phone call from the Skaneateles Athletic Director Stephen Musso on Jan. 15 and was told he was being replaced because of his involvement in the Turkey Bowl game. Bennett said Sindoni was never told what board policies were actually violated.
Contacted Thursday night, Sindoni declined to comment. Sindoni said his attorney, John Cherundolo, would also not be commenting. Musso has not returned calls seeking comment.
Earlier this week, the district put a notice on its website saying it was “seeking a highly qualified, motivated, and dedicated individual to coach our boys varsity football team.” When contacted earlier in the week about that posting, Sindoni said the issue was still being worked through.
Sindoni has coached the Lakers the past six seasons, winning four sectional titles in addition to the state championship.
His removal has apparently caused a stir in the Lakers community. At a school board meeting Tuesday, vice president Michael Kell said the district has received several emails in support of Sindoni and his commitment to the players,
“Why does our team feel abandoned all of a sudden in a time that is tough enough as it is?” Kell read from one correspondence.
Kell also said he had received many emails backing the district’s decision to remove Sindoni.
“The common theme was safety first and that any risk of exposure jeopardizes instruction,” Kell said.
Kell said the district has recently received a notice of claim regarding a possible lawsuit and cannot discuss anything involving future litigation.
Because football in New York state this year was moved from a fall sport to a March 1 start, there is an urgency to fill the head coach’s position.
Contacted on Thursday night, Skaneateles senior linebacker Jack Comer said he and his teammates weren’t sure what was going on.
“Right now the players don’t really know much yet,” Comer said. “We’re just hoping for the best. I think as of now he’s still the coach, but I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
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