Players, parents display aftershock from Doherty, Rubalcaba resignations


Ashley Bliss

During the meeting Aug. 20, Xzavier Caldwell and the football program gave a speech to voice their opinions.

Walking into the theater for the meeting Aug. 20 about Mr. Paul Doherty’s and Mr. Marc Rubalcaba’s resignation, the energy in the room was filled with mixed emotions for the future of the football program.

To start off the last-minute Sunday evening meeting, Principal Justin Cutts addressed the infractions that lead to the coach’s’ resignation, as well as the process the administration team went through to come to the decision.

“The five infractions of Doherty’s tenure lead the section and athletic department to look at [possible decisions]. The five infractions include three for the use of blocking pads, playing full contact during a summer camp and tackling drills during the dead period,” Cutts said.

The fifth infraction was reported to the San Joaquin section, within the probation period.Athletic Director  Mr. Jason Feuerbach met with section officials to come up with a list of self imposed sanctions; however, it was not enough, and resulted in team removal from playoffs.

“We evaluate coaches at the end of every season, however the timing of [the fifth infraction] and the basic lack of not following the rules lead us to this decision. There are 800 teams in the section and we are by far the most penalized team in the section, and there is no one close to this type of behavior,” Cutts said.

The athletic department is moving forward with the appeal process in hope that their section playoff eligibility will be reinstated.

The decision to ask for Doherty’s and Rubalcaba’s resignation came from 48 hours of conversation between the athletic department, school administration and school district, with Cutts making the final call. Even though Doherty and Rubalcaba were asked to resign from coaching, they still hold their teaching positions on campus.  

However, many football players, parents and community members are upset, as a result of Doherty’s and Rubalcaba’s resignations.

“When is someone in this administration going to realize someone is targeting our kids,” Mrs. Gina Eaton said at the meeting.

A lot people in the room wanted more answers than what Cutts was providing about the details of the resignations.

“I will stop talking, and we all will rally around you and support you if you bring back Coach Doherty,” Eaton said.

The community posed the question, “Has there been any formal discipline to Doherty before this?” Cutts responded by saying no. So, multiple parents and players asked for reconsideration to bring them back onto the coaching staff.

However, Doherty never received any formal punishment as a coach from the athletic department, and the parents of the players were never informed of the infractions. In addition, the parents did not even know the team was on probation, or was at risk of elimination from playoffs, if in fact, the team qualified at the end of regular season play. The CIF cannot tell a school to hire fire coaches.

“Coaches Are Hired By School Districts, Not The CIF. CIF Provides Guidelines For Coaches, Coaching Education And Various Other Training Programs, But The Schools Are The Ultimate Authority When It Comes To Hiring, Firing And Disciplining Coaches,” as stated on the CIF website.

Others felt a one- or two-game suspension would be more appropriate than calling for the coach’s’ resignation.

“At most, a suspension for a game, and they could have taken practices away from us, but going straight to having Doherty and Rubalcaba resigning was unfair,” Ben Sopinski said.

Later in the meeting, the varsity football team walked onto the stage  and stated their feelings and opinions on what they believe should’ve been the fate of the two coaches.

“Playoffs mean a lot to us, but not as much as our coaches do. Not only have they impacted our team, they have changed the lives of WJW teams alike. Even off the field from the weight room to the classroom they have always been there for us,” Xzavier Caldwell said.

However, there were also parents that agreed with the athletic department’s choice to ask for the coaches’ resignations.

“Nobody ever said “Why isn’t this on Doherty?’ He got in trouble five times. I’m trying to look out for my kids, and those kinds of decisions they need to live up to the consequences,” Mr. Al Jones said at the meeting.

Monday morning the football team met and players were informed of more news again.

Sam Salva said, “Doherty says that he 100 percent doesn’t deny what happened, and he’s standing up to it. A school board member [came to] the office to have a meeting with Cutts and the coaches about the situation. Mr. Feuerbach was asked to leave the office during the meeting, therefore it was solely Cutts’ decision to ask for the resignations.”

The topic will be revisited Sept. 6 at the school board meeting, but in the meantime, newly named interim head coach, Coach Jesse Armas will lead the team Friday at Davis in the first season game.