There are plenty of coaches who have found themselves either pushed out or forced into a move by budget cuts or disciplinary issues across the country. That's a part of While many have met with surprise from the local community, few have caused uproar among the students affected like the dismissal of Bridgeport (Conn.) Bassick football coach Frank Marcucio, who is pictured below.
Last week, Marcucio was fired for what Bridgeport board of education Athletic Director James Denton called "insubordination and violation of Bridgeport board of education policy," as reported by the Connecticut Post. That wasn't enough of a justification for Bassick star Brandon Williams, who responded to the news by starting a one-man protest committee against the move.
The Post reported that the senior Bassick captain, an all-state defensive end (you can see him in action in the highlight clip below) who has been recruited by UConn and Rutgers, among others, reached out to 16 current and former Bassick players and rallied the group together to form a plan of action to protest the decision.
The players have begun a mass petition and are said to be be in the early stages of a project to harass Bridgeport administration with a barrage of letters and phone calls until they reconsider their decision to fire Marcucio.
"Our voices are important," Williams told the Post. "If we keep calling and leaving messages, pretty soon they're going to have no choice but to do something about it."
While Williams' devotion and dedication to his coach is touching, it might seem misguided given Marcucio's 3-17 record in his two seasons at the helm of the Bassick program. Yet Williams insists that the rough record says little of the positive changes Marcucio has brought to the program, with his constant efforts to improve conditions for the Lions serving as the primary friction that led to his dismissal.
"Before, kids who wanted to play football could just coast by," Williams said.
"Coach Frank keeps us on top of our game. We have progress reports, he hands out punishments. He keeps us in line. ...
"Every time we try to get somebody to do it, they (the athletic department) says 'Well, this person can't do it. That person can't do it.' Or, 'You can't run it this way,'" Williams said.
For the time being, the school district is right. Marcucio won't be allowed to run anything unless Williams' protest campaign is successful. Until then, the team doesn't have any way to begin training for the 2011 campaign, still coachless with just more than two months before the first competitive games of the season.
In the meantime, Williams and his teammates have been unable to train in any way, with no coaches to oversee workouts and no athletic facilities in which to lift weights, with the Bridgeport YMCA holding out for payment from the players.
"The job has been posted and we hope to have a coach before the start of the school year," was all Denton would tell the Post.