Saturday, August 13, 2011

Former HSC Head Coach Forced to Resign

Culicerto resigns as Vance Hugh School Coach

From the Charlotte Observer
Vance High football coach Phil Culicerto told the Observer in an emotional, exclusive interview Thursday night that he resigned because he has not fulfilled requirements to keep his N.C. teaching certificate.

A teacher's license comes up for renewal every five years. To keep it, the teacher must earn continuing education units (CEUs). Teachers can earn CEUs during that five-year window, through college courses, on-the-job training and professional development.

Culicerto, who will also surrender his teaching position, said CMS officials informed him this week that his certification was no longer valid.

"I know the teaching requirements that are there," he said, "and I had gotten to a situation where I probably spent the majority of my time with my people instead of taking care of myself and my credits. Sometimes, you think, 'I can get it, I can get it, I can get it.' I ran out of time."

Culicerto, a former quarterback at Virginia Tech, said he met with assistant coach and former college teammate Billy Leeson on Thursday and hoped Leeson would assume the head coaching position.

Culicerto said it's a "crushing blow" to step down just eight days before the start of the season. Vance plays at Berry Aug. 19. Vance, which reached the state 4AA semifinals last season, is ranked No. 6 in the Observer's preseason Sweet 16 poll.

"It hurts a lot," he said, "especially when you think we're not just putting a team on the field, but one that can compete with anybody in this state; to know you gotta let that all go now, it's a big hurt. I'm heartbroken, no doubt, and I hope the kids don't feel I let them down. I love these boys and will do anything for them. I'm not running away. I just didn't get my requirements done."

Culicerto said he would immediately begin taking his required courses and would investigate ways he might still help Vance's football team on a volunteer basis. Vance athletics director Glenn Blafield said the school hoped to name a new coach before Friday's opener.

"I respect CMS and everything they've done for me," Culicerto said. "I'm a CMS guy. I'm a Vance guy. I can't apply back for another six months, but when those months are over, I told (Vance principal) Dr. (Valarie) Williams that 'you'd better be expecting my application.'"

Culicerto said he hoped his players could learn a lesson from this.

"I told our guys, that 'I expect you to have a 2.0 (grade-point average). Without a 2.0, you can't play. CMS expects me to have my certification, but since I didn't have it, I can't coach. That's fair and square.' So I'm gonna go do my homework and I told them, 'I hope you will have me back.' "

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