What to Know
- New Rochelle Superintendent Laura Feijóo said she can't comment on incident that forced head football coach Lou DiRienzo’s reassignment
- The coach's reassignment has sparked outrage because it took place two days before the playoff game scheduled for his weekend
- Although the superintendent did not comment on what prompted her to reassign the coach, parents say DiRienzo helped a student in distress
Furious parents and community members inundated the hallways leading up to a hearing Thursday morning after the superintendent of schools reassigned New Rochelle High School’s head football coach two days before the playoff game.
Amid of a sea of "WE SUPPORT COACH D", “fire the superintendent” chants echoed throughout the building as supporters of head football coach Lou DiRienzo demanded answers for the unexpected reassignment and the coach's immediate reinstatement.
New Rochelle Superintendent Laura Feijóo said she cannot comment on the ongoing investigation that forced DiRienzo’s reassignment.
Although she has not clearly stated why the head football coach has been reassigned days before the playoff game, she did say the coach cannot step foot on campus.
DiRienzo, who is a two-time state champion, has been reassigned outside of the school and is being paid, LoHud.com reports, citing the superintendent. He can come to Saturday's game as a spectator but cannot have anything to do with the team, according to the publication.
Supporters of the coach, including former NFL star Ray Rice, turned out to attend the conference, LoHud.com reports.
According to the report, after the news conference, Feijóo attempted to address the public about the coach, but was inundated by shouts from the his supporters.
However, according to LoHud.com, the crowd went quiet for Rice as he spoke: “I know what happened. You know what happened,” Rice told Feijoo, asking her whether DiRienzo “deserved public humiliation” for this situation.
In an email sent out to parents after DiRienzo’s reassignment, Feijóo said that confidentiality rights of staff members “limits the amount of information that can be shared with parents, notwithstanding our desire to do so.”
The email goes on to say: “We understand many of you may be disappointed by this news and certainly understand the importance of this game to our school and community. However, we are confident that our student athletes will continue to perform in an outstanding manner.”
During DiRienzo’s reassignment, the team’s assistant coaches will lead the football team to practice and “if necessary, in Saturday’s playoff game at Mahopac High School,” Feijóo said in her email.
Although school officials have not said what happened, supporters at the conference tell News 4 the reassignment stems from the coach allegedly helping a student in distress.
Additionally, the New Rochelle Football Parent Association tweeted that DiRienzo "helped a student in distress to leave school with her parent. Instead of quietly investigating the issue, as has forever been the practice at NRHS, Superintendent Feijoo chose to defame our coach and suspend him from teaching and coaching — and announce that fact to the world as though he was a criminal."
DiRienzo spoke via phone with News 4 New York following Thursday's meeting saying his concern has always been the players and mentoring them.
"That is my focus," he said.