Thursday, August 11, 2011

Vance football coach on why he stepped down: "I don't have my teaching certificate"

Vance High football coach Phil Culicerto told the Observer in an emotional, exclusive interview Thursday night that he resigned because he has not fulfilled requirements to keep his N.C. teaching certificate.

Every five years, a teacher’s license comes up for renewal. To keep it, the teacher must earn continuing education units (CEUs). Teachers can earn CEUs during that five-year window, through college courses, on the job training and professional development.

Culicerto, who will also surrender his teaching position, said CMS officials informed him this week that his certification was no longer valid.

"I know the teaching requirements that are there," he said, "and I had gotten to a situation where I probably spent the majority of my time with my people instead of taking care of myself and my credits. Sometimes, you think, ‘I can get it, I can get it, I can get it.’ I ran out of time."

Culicerto, a former quarterback at Virginia Tech, said he met with assistant coach and former college teammate Billy Leeson for two hours Thursday and hoped Leeson would assume the head coaching position, with defensive coordinator Sam Griner continuing to handle the defense.

Culicerto said it’s a "crushing blow" to step down just eight days before the start of the season. Vance plays at Berry Aug. 19. Vance, which reached the state 4AA semifinals last season, is ranked No. 6 in the Observer’s preseason Sweet 16 poll.

"It hurts a lot," he said, "especially when you think we’re not just putting a team on the field, but one that can compete with anybody in this state; to know you gotta let that all go now, it’s a big hurt. I’m heartbroken, no doubt, and I hope the kids don’t feel I let them down. I love these boys and will do anything for them. I’m not running away. I just didn’t get my requirements done."

Culicerto -- a former head football and baseball coach at Division III Hampden-Sydney -- said he would immediately begin taking his required courses and would investigate ways he might still help Vance’s football team on a volunteer basis. Vance athletics director Glenn Blafield said the school hoped to name a new coach before Friday’s season-opener.

"I respect CMS and everything they’ve done for me," Culicerto said. "I’m a CMS guy. I’m a Vance guy. I can’t apply back for another six months, but when those months are over, I told (Vance principal) Dr. (Valarie) Williams that ‘you’d better be expecting my application.’"

Culicerto said he hoped his players could learn a lesson from this.

“I told our guys, that ‘I expect you to have a 2.0 (grade-point average). Without a 2.0, you can’t play. CMS expects me to have my certification, but since I didn’t have it, I can’t coach. That’s fair and square.’ So I’m gonna go do my homework and I told them, ‘I hope you will have me back.’"


Anonymous said...

I'm more alarmed that the writer of this post can't spell renewAl. As for the story, it is a tough break for Vance, which is expected to have a big year.

Anonymous said...

This program is in great shape!! They are loaded with talent, and have a bunch of new coaches as assistants who are all future head coaches. Coaches will be knocking down the door to get in there!!!

Anonymous said...

Im sorry, but what a idiot. He had to be aware that time was running out. Way to set the example for your players.

Anonymous said...

Doubt he'll be back at Vance. It is a very tough place to teach/coach. High turnover with lots of turmoil in the hallways.

Anonymous said...

Stupid requirement anyway. A high school coach of the football team or any other coaching position for that matter at a high school shouldn't have to be required to hold a silly teaching certificate. They shouldn't be required to teach a class, they're paid to coach and we all know it. It is a P/T job and the coach, the rest of the year, should be able to go work somewhere else outside the school. It's like requiring the little old lady working p/t at Belks six months out of the year to hold a fashion design certificate offered and issued at a local college or institute. It's only a way for the state to collect more tax/revenue.

Anonymous said...

CMS hires 350 Teach For America kids every year who do not have a license. What is the big deal? Having said that it seems obvious he intentionally declined to renew...probably thinking "they won't do anything." Wrong!

Anonymous said...

Let the AD take over the coaching duties. They only teach one or two classes per semester. Three and a half hours per day of planning time per day. How many classes did Coach C teach? Please look into it.Most head coaches only teach two classes per semester as well.


Anonymous said...

Football is the only sport required to have a full time teacher as its head coach. Too much liability and too difficult for a non-faculty coach to know if players skipped school, checked in too late, or were suspended.

Anonymous said...

Vance is not loaded other than Bryant at RB, and smallwood at line backer they are in big trouble. No receivers, only one DB returning. Jalen will be running for his life. The receiver they are depending on is about 5'8" 150 with his uniform on. He runs about a 4.8 benches 185 once. Just press him, he never gets off the line. One of there best players left and went to davidson day. Numerous players playing both ways. Run the ball on them the game will be over by half time.