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Friday, November 8, 2013

Phillips steps down as Alvirne High School football coach

A few days ago, then-Alvirne High School football coach Mark Phillips talked about having “no regrets” about his first season at the Broncos’ helm, which ended 1-8.

It turns out he was talking about his entire tenure as the Broncos’ head coach. ...

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A few days ago, then-Alvirne High School football coach Mark Phillips talked about having “no regrets” about his first season at the Broncos’ helm, which ended 1-8.

It turns out he was talking about his entire tenure as the Broncos’ head coach.

Amid rumors that began circulating earlier in the week, Phillips officially stepped down on Thursday. Phillips reportedly met with his players late Thursday afternoon and chose to not answer questions about his resignation, but emailed a statement.

“I am very proud of the work and effort of my staff this past season,” the statement began. “I am proud of the effort and improvement of my players this season. I am grateful for the support of the Alvirne administration, the parents and the Hudson community.

“Unfortunately, for reasons which are personal to me, I no longer feel I can dedicate the time and energy necessary to continue on in the capacity of Head Varsity Football Coach.”

There is nothing strange about the timing, as the Broncos season has just concluded. But Phillips put in an enormous amount of time, along with his assistants, after he was hired in late February, succeeding longtime head coach Bobby Nimblett.

Nimblett resigned almost exactly one year ago, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family. He worked in Chelmsford, Mass., and lived in Boston.

The Broncos had a tough start this year, losing starting quarterback Danny Brown in the first preseason scrimmage. They lost four games by a touchdown or less, their only win coming in Week 3 over Dover, 42-32, a game in which they rallied from being down 32-14.

Phillips ended his statement by saying the future is bright for the Broncos, who lost their last six games but have several key players returning.

“A great foundation has been laid for the resurgence of Alvirne football in the future,” he said, “and I wish them nothing but success as they move forward.”

Phillips attempted to change the losing culture of Alvirne football, heading into the season with an enthusiastic approach. In fact, he and his assistants completely renovated the team’s locker room, at their own expense, surprising the players when they reported to practice to start the following week.

Phillips, the former longtime Bishop Guertin assistant during the Cardinals’ dynasty, still teaches at BG and was busy later Thursday with parent-teacher conferences. When reached for comment, he said via text message “I really have nothing to add.”

Alvirne athletic director Karen Bonney must now turn to find the program’s third coach in three years. There were rumors a year ago that football might end at Alvirne, rumors that Bonney vehemently denied. To prove her point, Phillips and his up-tempo personality seemed like the perfect fit as the Alvirne administration was looking to give the program a spark.

“I think they breathed life into the football program,” Bonney said of the team’s coaching staff a couple of days prior to Phillips’ departure becoming official. “Their knowledge of football was incredible.

“The problem is, I don’t feel we belong in Division I. But I don’t see that changing. Mark feels strongly we should stay in Division I. Steve Beals (Alvirne principal) and I talked and said we would give it (another) shot.”

But evidently they will take that shot without Mark Phillips as their coach.