Windsor won’t retain football coach Amick

Windsor head coach Vic Amick watches his team play against Casa Grande during the game held at Windsor High School, Friday, October 3, 2014.(Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

Windsor head coach Vic Amick watches his team play against Casa Grande during the game held at Windsor High School, Friday, October 3, 2014.(Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

By KERRY BENEFIELD
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Windsor High School football coach Vic Amick will not return to the Jaguars’ sideline next season after school officials decided not to keep the third-year head coach at the helm.

About 80 players, both current and former Jaguars, as well as a small group of parents, gathered in the school’s weight room Monday morning to hear Amick’s emotional explanation for why he was let go and to express appreciation for his five years with the program, three as head coach.

Amick said he was told by Principal Marc Elin and athletic director Jeff Hardie on Friday that he was “not building enough character off field.”

“I know it’s not true, so it’s laughable to me,” he said. “To tell me I’m not raising characters off the field, it’s a lie.”

“I know every day that I came to this school, I was building character,” he said. “If they would have come and watched practice, anytime since day one, they would have seen it was more than just football.”

Elin, who attended Monday morning’s meeting and spoke briefly to the players and parents gathered, said in a later interview that he could say little about Amick’s dismissal because it is a personnel matter bound by privacy regulations.

“We reassess all of our programs after each season” to see if the direction is where school officials want it, Elin said.

The decision was not based on the team’s 20-16 overall record under Amick, he said. The Jaguars went 8-4 this season and 4-3 in the North Bay League.

On this Amick and Elin agreed.

“It’s never been about wins and losses for them. It’s never been about wins and losses with us,” Amick said.

Elin also countered contention voiced by some that Amick was removed at the behest of a “vocal minority.”

Addressing the character issue that Amick said was the cause of his dismissal, Elin said, “I think it would be wrong to make a coach responsible for the actions of every player,” adding “the coach does influence the character of the student athlete.”

The next Jaguars coach should have “an articulate vision for the program and that includes all levels of play,” he said. “I want a consistency among the philosophies and approaches to working with students.”

Amick, who is active on social media, has raised eyebrows in the past for posts made on his public Twitter account. On the account biography, Amick, 27, identifies himself as the Windsor High football coach and shows two Windsor football pictures on the home page. Posts often use profanity, biblical quotations and motivational sayings as well as frequent commentary on sporting events.

“This is why I love what I do and what makes it all worth it, I appreciate the #DubNation now let’s turn the f— up,” was a message posted on the Vic_Amick_12 account on the same day the Jaguars lost to Rancho Cotate in October. The attached photo showed motivational sayings written on a poster.

On Nov. 7, posts to the account included “I shall fear no man but God” followed by “Wonderin if you matchin that bra with them panties,” a lyric from “Not for Long” by artist B.o.B.

“It’s 2015, a lot of people hear those words,” he said.

“I’m just having fun. I understand I’m 27 and I’m in a leadership position at school. There’s a lot of positive stuff on there too that I use day in, day out,” he said. “If someone would have told me, ‘Hey man, cut out the Twitter thing or you are going to be fired,’ I would have stopped.”

In October, Amick posted a public critique of the play of a Rancho Cotate player that drew a complaint from the player’s parents. Amick said he met with both Henri Sarlatte, Rancho’s athletic director, and the student.

“I had messed up in a major way,” he said. “It was up for two minutes and whole world saw.”

While Amick said he was “blindsided” by the administration’s decision, Elin said any “staffing change does not come out of the blue.”

But Elin said the move to cut ties with Amick was not based on an isolated incident.

Still, players and parents expressed frustration that Amick would not be returning.

“They said he was fired because he was producing bad character off the field. I’m a parent, I know better than that and I’m really insulted,” said Scott Acken, whose son Dmitri played for Amick.

Todd Fletcher, who has assisted the football squad through a slew of coaching changes over the years, said it was complaints from a few that led to Amick’s ouster.

“This isn’t justified. Not even close,” he said. “It’s frustrating. How can you keep a program when you can’t keep a coaching staff?”

“A couple of people complain and it’s over,” he said.

A number of players said Amick had served as a father figure to them in recent years.

“I didn’t really grow up with a dad,” sophomore Jordan Diaz said. “He taught me stuff that a normal dad would teach you. It’s blessed me.”

Amick vowed to continue weightlifting workouts with the players until he is required to turn in his keys Jan. 1.

“I’m sorry it’s over,” an emotional Amick told players. “I want to be here forever. I will always wear a ‘W’ over my heart.”

You can reach Kerry Benefield at 526-8671 or kerry.benefield@pressdemocrat.com.

  • social glimpse

    Conflict resolution really needs to be part of curriculum…not just for students sake.