After just a year on the job, Archbishop Riordan High School football coach Bryan Blake has been dismissed as the head of the program, along with his entire coaching staff from the freshman to varsity levels.
Riordan president Patrick Daly officially named Richard Sweeney as the school’s new varsity coach.
The Crusaders went 1-9 under Blake last year, with their only win coming against rival St. Ignatius. Riordan has won just one game in each of the past three years after a nine-win season and a CCS title in 2007.
“I got a voicemail [Monday] from the president saying the school is going in a different direction,” Blake said. “I’m very disappointed. I thought we had a really good foundation for a long future. We laid out a plan, knew where we wanted to go and prepared for all of that. Obviously we didn’t get the opportunity to see it through.”
Sweeney is a graduate of St. Ignatius and coached Sacred Heart Cathedral in the early 1980s, but he most recently served as the defensive coordinator at Simon Frasor University in Canada.
“I realize that whoever leads the Crusader football program has a formidable task ahead of them, as far as rebuilding it,” Daly said. “[Sweeney] played at [St. Ignatius] and Santa Clara [University], and has the experience rebuilding programs at the high school and college level.”
Riordan athletic director Ron Isola would not comment on the situation and deferred all questions to Daly, but did state that other members of the coaching staff could still reapply for their jobs.
“We’ve been hanging in the wind for six weeks now,” Blake said. “That was time we could have been working and preparing for next season.”
Daly said he allowed the coaching staff to reapply for their positions, but also stated that the decision on assistant coaches is ultimately Sweeney’s.
“My goal as president is to put in place the people to turn things around and put Riordan in the top echelon of the [West Catholic Athletic League], not the basement,” Daly said.
“Internal politics of a Catholic school are not always fair, but it is what it is,” Blake said. “It was certainly a surprise the way it has played out. What’s next for me? I don’t have an answer for that right now. I’m sure I’ll be back coaching or on a sideline soon. It’s all kind of new right now, to be without a home.”
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