MONROE, CT — Parents, football players and coaches erupted into cheers when Board of Education Chairman David Ferris read a motion to approve a settlement agreement enabling Steve Christy to continue as Masuk High School’s head football coach for the 2024 season with conditions Thursday night.
The agreement was approved unanimously at the special meeting with board members Greg Beno and Vice Chair Christine Cascella abstaining.
Christy met with his players, coaches and families in the hallway outside the media center and thanked everyone for all they did to show their support for him to be the Panthers’ head coach amid an investigation into the culture of the football program.
The coach hugged several players and told the seniors he was sorry this affected their season, but added he doesn’t want them to hold any ill will toward anyone.
“I just think it’s very important. Let’s go forward, not backward,” Christy said. “We’re out to get a chip. Our mission is to win a state championship. Nick Fox is the new captain.”
Christy told supporters he’s “bringing the band back” including assistant coaches Giordano, Brian Halapin and Sal Longo. He encouraged players to participate in a passing league on Sunday, when the Panthers’ mission will begin.
The special meeting started at 7 p.m. and the board soon went into executive session to discuss the football matter, before board members reconvened in public to take action. Unlike last meeting, the executive session was fairly short, lasting about 30 minutes.
The Board of Education’s motion was made by Justin Orlando and seconded by Secretary Alan Vaglivelo, who voted in favor of it with fellow board members Ferris, Jerry Stevens, Jeff Fulchino, Dennis Condon and Chrissy Fensore Martinez.
Before the vote, Fulchino said, “While I struggled with the decision on whether to accept this settlement, based on the things that were brought to our attention, ultimately I will be voting to approve the agreement for two specific reasons. First, the agreement sets forth specific conditions for Coach Christy and his staff and these conditions speak to and address the concerns that I had on this matter. Second, it’s no secret that this matter’s taken way too long and divided our community and I would really like to put that division to rest today and move forward.”
After the meeting, Fulchino declined to comment on specific conditions, while the settlement agreement is still not signed.
Ferris also declined to comment until the agreement is signed by both attorneys and approved by the school board. Then it will become a public document.
Following complaints from some players and parents, the school board authorized an investigation into the football program, which began on July 6, and placed Christy and Assistant Head Coach Eric Giordano on administrative leave. The board’s attorney, Stephen Sedor, led the investigation.
Attorney Robert Pinciaro represented Christy on the matter.
Throughout the process, supporters of the coaches were emotional in their defense of Christy and Giordano during public comment portions of Board of Education meetings, and demanded answers about the investigation and to know when it would end.
The Sun spoke to one of the witnesses, who said the independent investigator advised her not to comment on the matter publicly.
During a season of coaching controversies off the field, other coaches stepped up the Panthers’ players showed tremendous character and resolve, finishing with a 9-3 record, including a 42-21 victory over Cheshire in a quarterfinals playoff game at home on Nov. 28.
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