NEW BRITAIN - Tebucky Jones believes there are people trying to oust him as head of the New Britain High football program.
This comes after sources told the Herald Wednesday that girls basketball head coach Tasha Manzie and boys basketball coach Todd Stigliano would not return next season. Manzie and Stigliano did not return phone calls, while New Britain athletic director Len Corto chose only to direct the Herald to the superintendent’s office.
“I don’t want to comment on it at this time,” New Britain superintendant Nancy Sarra said. “But all coaching positions are one-year positions. It’s up to the building administrators and the athletic director to either seek new coaches or retain the ones in place. It isn’t a guarantee. I’m ultimately the one that hires people, but with new leadership at the high school, I have to trust our leadership.”
While Jones believes people are looking for him to lose his job, according to the school, not only will the football position be open for applicants, but so will baseball, wrestling and every other position beginning May 2.
“All the coaching positions are open,” said Matt Cannata, the Board and Public Relations Specialist for the district. “With coaches being a year-to-year thing, we are taking applicants from inside and outside the district. The closing date is May 9 and after that, all the applicants will be reviewed.”
Jones’ job could be available, but he doesn’t believe it is as simple as that. Jones and some close to him believe a former assistant football coach who was let go from the staff following the 2016 season, or someone associated with him, sent a letter to the school board accusing Jones of being uncertified since 2015.
“It was probably Carlos Blanco,” Jones said. “I got rid of him because he wasn’t helping the team.”
Attempts to reach out to Blanco were unsuccessful.
Jones has maintained he was certified, with his certification running out after the 2016 season, meaning he would have to recertify before the 2017 season began, but the school district said he was not.
“They told me near the end of last season that I would have to renew,” Jones said. “It only takes 15 hours to do it. You can complete it in one day.”
New Britain received an anonymous letter about Jones’ certification before the team’s season finale against Berlin. The school then launched an investigation soon after to find “several” coaches who had been coaching without permits.
“We responded as soon as we found out,” Sarra said. “We told the coaches that they had to be certified to coach here. For example, we had to bench our wrestling coach [Charles Ferguson] until the paperwork came through. We followed up and have been following up with our coaches. We brought the certification class to the district and for what is usually a $500 course, charge $60. But ultimately, it is up to the coaches to get certified because of the kids’ safety and keeping up with recent concussion protocols.”
For Jones, this is nothing new. The head coach was previously fired for a short amount of time in 2014, only to be rehired a short time later.
“I remember an ex-player asking me years ago ‘Why would you go back to New Britain?’” Jones said. “‘All they’re going to do is mess with you, going to bother you. It doesn’t matter if you made it to the NFL or whatever. They hate seeing that success.’ But it’s like I tell people, I’m here for these kids and trying to help them get into college. A lot of them are growing up the way I did.”
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @DavidGlovach