By Jeremy Balan
UPDATE – 1:45 p.m. President Patrick Daly has officially named Richard Sweeney as the new head coach. Sweeney is a graduate of St. Ignatius and coached Sacred Heart Cathedral in the early 1980s, but most recently served as the defensive coordinator at Simon Frasor University in Canada.
“I realize that whoever leads the Crusader football program has a formidable task ahead of them, as far as rebuilding it,” Daly said. “He played at [St. Ignatius] and Santa Clara [University], and has the experience rebuilding programs at the high school and college level.”
Daly said that he allowed the coaching staff to reapply for their positions, but also stated that the decision is ultimately Sweeney’s.
“My goal as president is to put in place the people to turn things around and put Riordan in the top echelon of the [West Catholic Athletic League], not the basement,” Daly said.
After just a year on the job, Archbishop Riordan High School head football coach Bryan Blake has been dismissed as the head of the program, along with his entire coaching staff from the freshman to varsity levels.
The Crusaders went 1-9 under Blake last year, with their only win coming against rival St. Ignatius. Riordan has won just one game in each of the last three years, after a nine-win season and a CCS title in 2007.
“I got a voicemail [Monday] from the president saying the school is going in a different direction,” Blake said. “I’m very disappointed. I thought we had a really good foundation for a long future. We laid out a plan, knew where we wanted to go and prepared for all of that. Obviously we didn’t get the opportunity to see it through.”
At the beginning of April, school President Patrick Daly made the entire coaching staff reapply for their jobs, and the 13 positions on the school’s website are still listed as “Pending.”
“We’ve been hanging in the wind for six weeks now,” Blake said. “That was time we could have been working and preparing for next season.”
Riordan athletic director Ron Isola would not comment on the situation and deferred all questions to Daly, but did state that the rest of the coaching staff could still reapply for their jobs.
Daly was not available for comment as of 1 p.m. Wednesday.
“”Internal politics of a Catholic school are not always fair, but it is what it is,” Blake said. “It was certainly a surprise the way it has played out. What’s next for me? I don’t have an answer for that right now. I’m sure I’ll be back coaching or on a sideline soon. It’s all kind of new right now, to be without a home.”
There has been speculation who the next coach might be, but the school has yet to release any information of a new hire officially.
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