After initially fighting to save his job, longtime Daytona Mainland (Fla.) High School football coach John Maronto resigned from his position on Wednesday in the aftermath of a prostitution sting that caught the coach soliciting sex on camera and audio Sep. 4. The coach was allowed to continue coaching after the arrest pending a verdict in his case, but the coach felt impelled to step down after video evidence against him leaked to the press on Monday, sparking a second media wave calling for Maronto's resignation.
Here's what Maronto's lawyer, David Damore, told the Orlando media about his clients decision, according to OrlandoSentinel.com:
"Coach wants everyone to know that this decision was made by him in the best interests of the team and players and the Mainland family," David Damore said. "I think he believes that this decision is in the best interest of the kids, that they not continue to be in the limelight because of the allegations. ...
"I did not find it to be nearly what it was described to be by law enforcement."
"We prefer to try this case in court and not in front of the cameras. I can tell you as his attorney, we feel very confident. We think it will be favorable for coach Maronto."
Maronto's resignation ends one of the most successful runs in Florida football history. The Mainland coach racked up an impressive career record of 140-39, and entered the season on a string of 14-consecutive playoff appearances. He led the Buccaneers to the Class 5A state title in 2003, which remains the only state championship in school history.
Pedigree aside, Maronto's arrest has been a persistent distraction to the Buccaneers since it occurred a week after the team's season-opening loss. Mainland was outscored 30-3 in its first two games before rebounding with a 20-0 victory last week. The team returns to action Friday when the Bucs host a 2-1 Seminole High School team at Daytona Beach Municipal Stadium.
"It's been up and down since all this happened," Mainland senior Cortez Davis told OrlandoSentinel.com. "I don't even think he [Maronto] told our coaches he was leaving. Today at practice, they were trying to move us on and forget about everything that has happened. They just told us to focus on what we need to for this week and not worry about everything else."
Mainland will need that focus if it is navigate a tough schedule and avoid the program's first losing season since 1993. For Maronto, the resignation clears the way for another position in the Volusia County School District. Superintendent Margaret Smith told WESH-TV that Maronto would be reassigned to an unidentified facility on Monday. That, in turn, will allow Maronto and his lawyer to spend more time focusing on his defense, which Damore insisted will have a persuasive case in court.
"I'm not in any way putting the police at fault or the prosecutors in their decisions, but there are more facts, there are more circumstances that need to be heard," Damore told the media.