EAST PALESTINE - The high school head football coach who was absent from the last game of the season has stepped down.
Gare Mattes told Superintendent George Fisk and board members in his resignation letter dated Oct. 30 he was "embarrassed" to not have been able to attend the last week of practice and the last game, and that the move has "compromised" his future effectiveness to coach.
He said it was Fisk's decision that he stand down, and the consequences of that decision have "been a great source of personal embarrassment for me and my family."
The resignation was approved by the board Monday evening, with no discussion.
When asked if Mattes was targeted for being fired, Fisk offered no comment, only saying, "He had one more year. He chose to resign. I'll let his resignation letter speak for itself."
When contacted Monday, Mattes said everything he wanted to say was in the letter.
Mattes was first hired by the board three years ago and given a two-year contract. He was awarded another two-year contract last year and was finishing up the first year of that contract prior to the resignation. His current salary was roughly $5,080 a year.
A retired teacher from another district, Mattes had also served as substitute teacher in East Palestine.
His resignation was effective immediately.
The Bulldogs were 7-23 in Mattes' three seasons as head coach, including consecutive 2-8 campaigns.
The coach came under heavy criticism following a 63-0 defeat to Crestview, a game in which the third and fourth quarters were shortened to six minutes each.
The next week, defensive coordinator Dave Rankin coached the Bulldogs to a season-ending win over Lisbon.