Tom Joseph was relieved of his duties as Corona del Sol’s football coach on Thursday, according Linda Littell, Tempe Union High School District executive director for community relations.
The players and parents were told today. The assistant coaches gave the news to the players.
Joseph declined to comment when reached on Friday.
Here is a portion of the letter sent to parents:
"Tempe Union High School District and Corona del Sol High School have announced that Tom Joseph, Corona del Sol’s Varsity Head Football Coach, will not be continuing in that position effective immediately. Arrangements have been made for the Corona Assistant Varsity Football Coaches to assume leadership of the team until an Interim Varsity Head Football Coach can be named. I anticipate an announcement for an Interim Varsity Head Football Coach by early next week.
"The decision regarding this announcement to relieve Tom Joseph from his coaching responsibilities has been made, first and foremost, in the best interests of the students and we look forward to beginning the search for the next Varsity Head Football Coach at the close of the 2013 football season.
"Our team will be in good care for Friday night’s game. I appreciate your continued support as we work together during this time of transition."
Corona is off to an 0-4 start as it prepares to play at Mesquite on Friday. Joseph, who was a highly successfully coach (92-27, two state titles) at Mesa Mountain View, went 9-11 in his first two years after taking over from Zane Zamenski.
According to a source, the case for removal wasn’t just about wins and losses as Joseph has long been considered a hard-nosed, old-school coach and some of his tactics are no longer appreciated.
The source said Joseph was using the “bull in the ring” drill where one player is in the middle of a circle of players. It is a drill where a coach calls a number or name and that player charges the individual in the middle for a head-to-head collision and it continues again and again.
“When you are warned, not just verbally, but on paper, not to do something and you continue to do it there is going to be a problem,” the source said.
There were other old-school tactics that weren’t deemed acceptable as well.
“The truth is some of those same tactics are used by other coaches for team building purposes, but it is accepted because the team backs the coach,” the source said. “With him, his personality rubs people the wrong way so it is taken differently.”
An interim coach will be put in place for the remainder of the season, while a coaching search will be conducted very soon.
“I know I have heard from a lot people about getting an actual Corona grad in there,” TUSD board member Moses Sanchez said on Thursday.
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