HS Football Coach Resigns Midseason, Citing Harassment from Parents

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Kahn Chace, in his second season as head football coach at Cardinal Spellman High School in Brockton, Mass, resigned from his position following a Thursday night loss to Bishop Fenwick, citing "parent harassment and disrespect." 

“I’ve had friends and family come to games and have to leave because of the things being said about me in the stands,” said Chace on Friday morning, as reported by The Enterprise of Brockton. “I don’t even have my wife and kids go the game anymore, because I don’t need them to hear that about me.”

Chace, who was hired in July 2021 to replace retiring Hall of Fame coach Ron St. George, said he felt unsafe after Thursday's 34-3 loss to Fenwich.

“After our Fenwick game last night, there was a group of parents that if there wasn’t a fence that I was concerned for my safety,” said Chace.

Chace said he tries to avoid confrontation, even at home games.

“At a home game, it’s to the point where I can’t leave the field if I don’t have an escort or I go out another gate, or I wait in a corner until everyone’s cleared out,” said Chace.

"Today, we accepted the resignation of Head Football Coach Kahn Chace for personal reasons," read a press release from Spellman, as reported by The Enterprise. "We appreciate Coach Chace’s service to the Spellman Athletic Department, and we wish him well in his future endeavors. Our priority is to stabilize the program on an interim basis, by working with the existing coaching staff. Our Athletic Office will be working to find a new head coach for the 2023 season, but in the meantime, the player's experience, and team success will remain paramount as Athletic Director, Mr. (Michael) Gerrish, shepherds the coaching staff through the remainder of the season."

According to Gerrish, four of Chace's assistant coach will remain on staff to coach the team. Ryan Donovan, Jequan Johnson, Dan Lewis and Scott Tucker will coach the team, with no one officially taking over as head coach.

Last year, the Cardinals were coming off a 1-4 season during the Fall II 2021 season and lost their first six games of the 2021 season. A stunning 22-20 upset over undefeated St. Mary’s (of Lynn) marked a turning point for Spellman, and the team finished 3-8. Chase was named the New England Patriots High School Football Coach of the Week following that win.

The Cardinals are 2-3 this season and likely only needed one more win to earn a playoff spot for the first time since 2019. Spellman was ranked No. 17 in the Div. 6 power ratings on Friday (top 16 teams qualify) and has regular-season games against one lower-ranked team and one higher-ranked team remaining on the schedule.

“I think they are really sweet people," Chase said of Cardinal Spellman administrators. "I think they’re trying their best, but with the dynamics of it being a school you pay to go to, I think sometimes their hands are tied,. I think things could be handled better, but it’s to the point where I don’t think I’m the right person to fix it right now.”

This was Chace’s 19th season as a coach, including at Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School in Franklin, Mass.

“Has there been the occasional one or two things through those years? Yes, but in general if I walked [through the stands] after a Tri-County game, I had parents and people who would be very friendly and introduce themselves to me, always had great relationships,” said Chace, according to The Enterprise.. “At Oliver Ames in my time as wrestling coach and as assistant football coach, we had great teams, we had bad teams, those parents came to my wedding. Those people were really nice. and I felt welcomed." 

Chace said the issues of verbal abuse dated back to last season.

“I don’t want attention,” said Chace, “but I think it’s important people realize, and you see it with the refs, that coaches are human beings.

“This is not the NFL. I’m not Bill Belichick. We don’t get paid enough money to deal with this stuff. You do it for relationships and you do it for community, and right now at Spellman there is no community and there are negative relationships.”

Chace said he was thinking about leaving the program following the end of last season, and now wishes he didn’t return for a second season.

“I regret coming back,” said Chace. “I tried to do it because I have outstanding coaches, I have the best coaches I’ve ever had, and the administration are sweet, nice people. That’s why I came back.

“Other than my family, football is the thing I love the most in the world, and now it’s become something where I dread to come to [work], and it’s affecting my mental health, where I’ve become an angrier person. Now on top of that, I have to spend time away from my family and get yelled at by people constantly. We’re winning games against Cathedral and Nantucket, and there are F-bombs towards me and my coaches the entire game, and I don’t understand why.”

Chace said he’ll take some time away from football to spend with his family, but ultimately he wants to return to coaching.

“I absolutely want to coach football again," he said. "I love it. I just want to be somewhere where I’m welcomed and that can be in any role. I think I have a lot of respect from my peers throughout the South Shore. I’m not worried about finding another coaching job."

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