Nick Savastano’s tenure as John Jay coach is over.
Savastano was told today that he will not be retained as the Indians’ coach after a highly successful 10 years as head varsity coach in which John Jay’s program achieved national prominence. John Jay athletic director Chris McCarthy said the decision does not affect Savastano’s status as a full-time physical education teacher in the Katonah/Lewisboro district.
Savastano did not publicly discuss any specific reasons he was given for the move, but said he believed an investigation the school had conducted of the lacrosse program centered on accusations of verbal abuse of players. Savastano said he plans on returning to coaching lacrosse in the area. He said he has not decided if he will file a grievance with the teacher’s union.
McCarthy said he could not offer any specific reasons for the move because it is a personnel matter.
“I’ll be making a plan of action to put the best possible staff in place,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy said he has talked with some members of the team today and will be meeting with the entire team later in the day.
Junior varsity coach Erik Hoaglund and volunteer varsity assistant coach Vinny Savastano, Nick’s brother and the former head varsity coach at Hen Hud, also will not be retained.
During the school district’s investigation of the program, only one current varsity or JV coach, Geoff Nolan, was permitted to remain involved with the team. Nolan ran a winter box league.
A standout at Lakeland High School, Savastano was named John Jay varsity head coach in 2000, replacing Bob Kear, who founded the Indians’ program as a club team in 1976. Kear was relieved of his coaching duties after the 1999 season and immediately pursued legal action against the school district regarding his dismissal. That legal action has still not been resolved.
During Savastano’s tenure:
* John Jay became the first team to ever beat Yorktown on Yorktown’s home field twice in the same season (2006).
* John Jay defeated such nationally renowned programs as Huntington, Manhasset, Garden City, Niskayuna, Syosset, Darien and Corning East during Savastano’s tenure. The win over two-time state champion Huntington, in the 2007 state semifinals, is the most noteworthy. Huntington, with the twin brother tandem of Shamel and Rhamel Bratton, was the No. 1-ranked team in the nation when John Jay beat the Blue Devils 11-10 in overtime at Hofstra University. The win snapped Huntington’s 63-game win streak. With the victory, John Jay earned its first-ever state final appearance, where the Indians lost to Jamesville DeWitt.
* John Jay won four straight sectional titles from 2005-08. John Jay lost to Somers in the 2009 Section 1 Class B final.
“We had something great going,” Savastano said. “The program was blossoming. We were sending kids to Division I programs. I was in the school during the day, so it gave me the chance to work with kids. I feel like I was more than a coach, I was a mentor.”
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