On the eve of the team’s biggest game of the season, Cox High School in Virginia Beach relived longtime football coach Bill Stachelski of his duties without providing any prominent justification for his departure.
As reported by the Virginian-Pilot and TV network WAVY, Stachelski was told that he was being relieved of his coaching duties on Thursday morning, after which Cox principal Dr. Randi R. Riesbeck released a letter to Cox High School Football Families” announcing that the team’s assistant coach, Brad Nelson, would serve as the team’s coach for the remainder of the 2015 season and playoffs.
While it has remains to be seen what precipitated Stachelski’s departure, Rieschek’s letter indicated that the coach and principal had a conversation about the decision and the coach understood the school’s position. Whatever the decision, the team’s performance on the field isn’t the likely catalyst; Cox is a perennial playoff squad and enters Friday night’s face off against crosstown rival Ocean Lakes with a 6-2 record. He was 53-31 overall in more than seven seasons leading the program.
It was also unclear whether Stachelski was dismissed permanently or simply suspended on Thursday. While Riesbeck’s letter described his departure as being “relieved of his duties.” Virginia Beach Public Schools spokesperson Lauren Nolasco referred to his absence as a suspension through the remainder of the season.
Meanwhile, the team’s players were left to absorb a sudden change in leadership just 24 hours before kick off against the Dolphins, currently ranked No. 8 nationally in the USA TODAY High School Sports Super 25.
“I don’t really know what happened,” Cox running back Matt DeMasi, a senior, told the Virginian-Pilot. “All I know is that he’s not going to be with us the rest of the season.”