July 31, 2014

Elyria
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High school football: Amherst chooses change, lets head coach Chad DiFranco go following three struggling seasons

Chad DiFranco

Chad DiFranco

After three consecutive losing seasons, Chad DiFranco is out as football coach at Amherst High School.

DiFranco, whose Comets won just one game last year, told The Chronicle-Telegram on Friday that he was notified Tuesday by athletic director Casey Wolf and principal Mike May that he would not be retained for the 2014 season.

Amherst, a former perennial Southwestern Conference contender, went 4-26 during DiFranco’s three-year tenure, winning just two of 21 league games under his direction. Consistent losing likely was a factor in DiFranco’s ouster.

“They thought it was time for a new voice in the locker room,” said DiFranco, who informed his staff Wednesday before meeting with Comets players Thursday. “It’s unfortunate that we didn’t win more games the last few years. I don’t know how much that played into (the decision to dismiss him). I ran the program the way I thought was the right way. I know there were a lot of losses, but I did feel like we were moving in the right direction.

“I told them I didn’t agree with the decision, but I’m not going to be bitter about it. I love Amherst and I love the community. I’ve been here for 15 years. There are no hard feelings from them for me and no hard feelings from me for them.”

DiFranco, who served as an assistant coach for the Comets before replacing current Elyria head coach Kevin Fell before the 2011 season, said he plans on remaining at the high school as an art teacher.

He also hinted he might return to coaching football in some capacity.

“I’ve talked to a number of people since Tuesday,” DiFranco said. “Whenever one door closes, another one opens.”

According to a source within the program, Jay Lima, a former Amherst player, and an assistant coach last year for the Comets, will replace DiFranco on an interim basis — conducting the offseason duties of a head coach — while the school searches for a new one. The source expected Lima to apply for the job on a full-time basis.

Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him @CAwesomeheimer on Twitter.