Barely three years removed from the peak of achieving a first-ever state championship, the Skaneateles football team will move ahead without the head coach who helped put it together.
Joe Sindoni, who had led the Lakers to that 2017 state title along with four Section III titles, was removed from his position in reaction to an event that took place in late November.
With its football season delayed until “fall season II” in March, current and former Skaneateles players gathered on Thanksgiving Day at Hyatt Stadium.
They called it the “Turkey Bowl” and at least 20 people were present, wearing masks and playing football. In the days that followed, several Skaneateles residents were diagnosed with COVID-19, which some attributed to the Turkey Bowl.
It wasn’t until mid-January, according to a member of the Skaneateles Varsity and Modified Football Boosters, that Sindoni was informed of his removal.
The school district has since posted on its web site that it is “seeking a highly qualified, motivated, and dedicated individual to coach our boys varsity football team.”
When the Skaneateles Board of Education met early last week, emails and messages both in support of Sindoni and supporting the district’s decision were made public.
Ironically, Sindoni took over the head coaching job after his predecessor, Tim Green, resigned in November 2011 amid controversy over whether some of the players on what was an undefeated Lakers’ roster transferred in from other districts without going through all the necessary processes.
Sindoni took over and, in 2012, the Lakers won the sectional Class C championship. Five years later, led by record-setting quarterback Patrick Hackler, Skaneateles went all the way to the state Class C title, following it up with sectional and regional Class B crowns in 2018.
It remains unknown who will coach the Lakers when it begins practices in early March, part of “fall sports II”. Football was one of the “high-risk” sports which the New York State Department of Health approved to start late in January.