Rotanz Ousted as Shoreham-Wading River Coach
Longtime Shoreham-Wading River (N.Y.) High boys' lacrosse coach Tom Rotanz will not return in 2014, the Riverhead News Review reported Wednesday.
Rotanz, who has coached the Wildcats since 1995 and won five state championships, reportedly was offered the opportunity to coach for one more season if he agreed to resign the next year, he told the newspaper. Rotanz, also an assistant coach on the gold medal-winning 2012 U.S. U19 team, said the school district's superintendent told him he was "too controversial" to remain Shoreham-Wading River's coach.
"I think we need new leadership," Superintendent Steve Cohen told the News Review.
More than 100 people, including many members of the boys' lacrosse team, assembled at a school board meeting Tuesday night to voice support for Rotanz. According to the report, Cohen said that while the district did not plan to rehire Rotanz, every coaching position that was not filled by a Shoreham-Wading River faculty member was made available for potentially better candidates. Rotanz is a teacher in the Rocky Point (N.Y.) School District.
The News Review report also detailed two previous instances in which Rotanz's job was in jeopardy. He was briefly removed from his position before the 2002 season. Two years ago, several parents urged the district not to retain Rotanz over allegations of bullying and harassment, but the school board voted unanimously to bring him back after others came to his defense.
Shoreham-Wading River won the Long Island Class C championship in June, before falling to Bronxville in the state semifinals. The Wildcats finished 18-2, with both of their losses coming in overtime, and received votes in the final Nike/US Lacrosse National Top 25 poll. Rotanz's son, graduated attackman Tim Rotanz, became just the fourth player in Long Island history to surpass 400 career points. He's now at Maryland.