Following a 48-0 loss against Fairfield Friday, Middletown (Ohio) High School football coach Lance Engleka tendered his resignation citing an unsafe working environment.
According to Engleka, whose team has taken a single win during the past two seasons, recurrent online threats of death and other physical harm directed at the him, his staff and his family have finally reached a tipping point.
In a letter addressed to Superintendent Marlon Styles, Engleka listed the “unrealistic expectations” and “verbal abuse” of parents as factors leading to his decision.
"Winning and losing at the high school level should not be a life-threatening situation,” wrote Engleka.
In an interview with former members of the Middletown team, WLWT5 asked about the longstanding culture of football in the community.
“It was about the same,” said former tackle Joe Cox. “"We didn't have the best winning record as well, so you had a lot of pressure on the coaches by a lot of outside sources as well as interior sources as well."
Of Engleka, former defensive back Tim Lewis told WLWT5, “I had heard a lot of good things about him. I heard he was a positive individual and a lot of people liked him in the community.”
Added Cox, "It's pretty bothersome to hear that the community is ultimately what drives out the coaches in that way. We haven't gave [sic] a coach enough time, in my opinion, for them to build up the program."