MAHOPAC, N.Y. — After just one year at the helm, Mark Langella’s contract as Mahopac varsity football coach will not be renewed. His team finished 3-6.
“At the end of the season, there was nobody saying that I did anything wrong,” Langella said. “Almost a year later, people are naming things that happened before last season. It’s their right to decide which way they want to go.”
Asked by audience members during last week’s School Board meeting why Langella was let go, board President Brian Mahoney said the board could not legally discuss personnel matters.
Langella, who is an advanced chemistry teacher at the high school, was an assistant coach to the football team from 2001-2013 and was heavily involved in the Mahopac Sports Association for many years.
“The methodology is the same that I have been doing for 16 years [of coaching],” Langella said. “Nothing has changed on the football field. Everything that I did was the same and now there is an issue. So, that’s what’s a little strange.”
He was told that the administration would not recommend him as a candidate for the job this season in a meeting with school officials just before spring break.
“Philosophically, [the administration] does not agree with the way I coach and they want to go in a different direction,” Langella said. “They gave me a series of reasons of why they do not want to recommend me. If they had an issue, I would have rather known in January so I would not have spent the hundreds of hours preparing the kids. At least they would have had the opportunity to meet a new head coach they felt was more appropriate.”
After spending the off-season developing a weightlifting program through computerized methods, Langella said he saw the number of players in the program reach its highest point since the league championship team of 2010.
He also met with 60 potential football players at the preliminary meeting to discuss sign-ups and the Indian Pride program, which may no longer continue.
“I love the kids at Mahopac,” Langella said. “I treat them like they are my kids. There are still kids from years ago that still call me on the holidays. In 51 years I have never been not recommended or fired from a position so it’s a new experience. But Mahopac is a special place.”
Athletic Director Ron Montalto did not return multiple calls from Mahopac News, but according to Langella, Montalto gave him a satisfactory evaluation in January while commending him for his team’s behavior during its 28-16 victory over Mount Vernon. Langella said he has never had any problems with classroom evaluations and has even been nominated as a master teacher in New York State.
“I have been here involved in Mahopac Sports Association for [many] years and had nothing but accolades,” Langella said. “But it’s a new time and a different era.”