On Friday, Jan. 10, Tebucky Jones notified athletic director Len Corto that he would be resigning from his position as head football coach of the New Britain High School Golden Hurricanes football team. However, Jones, who compiled a 13 – 17 record in three seasons, says that he was forced to resign and it wasn’t a decision that he wanted to make. He said that if he hadn’t resigned, he would have been fired.
But in a surprising twist, Jones withdrew his resignation on Wednesday, Jan. 15.
This now moves this story in another direction. There are already plans in place for players and parents to rally behind Jones over the next two weeks. This past Monday, a handful of students showed up at the Board’s budget workshop meeting with a petition of over 200 signatures, which demanded that he be reinstated. Due to the fact that it wasn’t a regular meeting, public participation in regards to the football situation was not allowed. However, it will be allowed on Jan. 27. Dozens of students and parents are expected to speak out at this meeting.
The school district can now move in several different directions. They can choose to fire Jones from the district. However, that would mean they would need hard evidence with documentation that Jones has not been fulfilling his full-time job to a satisfactory level. They can also choose not to name him the head coach for the 2014 season. All coaching positions are considered extra-curricular and the jobs are posted for internal and external applicants on a yearly basis. If they choose not to do either of those, they can choose to retain Jones and give him another year to prove himself.
If Jones is not retained, Superintendent Kelt Cooper said that the search for a new coach will be one that covers the entire nation. It is believed that Cooper is looking to bring in a coach with a proven track record who can re-energize the program, recruit more kids to come out and play, and instill discipline that some say has been lacking over the past several years.
Jones, who is no stranger to New Britain, grew up in this city and was a star player here at the high school in the early 1990s and led the Hurricanes to a Class LL championship in 1992 under the direction of then head coach Len Corto. From there, he went to Syracuse and was drafted four years later by the New England Patriots in the first round in 1998 and went on to play nine years in the NFL, which included a Super Bowl championship with the Patriots and stints with the Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints.
It was that resume and playing experience that got him hired in 2011. However, Jones believes that since that day, there have been efforts by people to get him out of that position.
He told the Hartford Courant, “there’s a group of people that have been slandering me since I started.” he said. “He [Carlos Pina] is the main guy…He’s the same guy who also belittles the players. It’s like the Garden of Eden, and he’s the serpent…Politics shouldn’t be involved in high school football.”
Pina did not respond to an e-mail for a comment on the situation. In addition, various members of the Board of Education, along with athletic director Len Corto, declined to comment.
The Hurricanes have only had one winning season in the past five years. But, the future is bright as they are projected to bring back nine starters on defense and eight starters on offense.