The popular girls' basketball coach at North Salem High School in New York is resigning in protest over the ouster of the school's athletic director.
North Salem High School alum Eric Buzzetto, who played for boys' basketball coach Henry Sassone, in his dual role as AD later offered Buzzetto the girls' coaching position.
As reported by the North Salem Daily Voice, Sassone's Hall of Fame career has spanned 35 years, totaling 414 wins, nine league championships and four sectional championships. He was a former president of the Lower Hudson Valley Basketball Coaches Association and Section 1 Conference Chair. He’s also been named Coach of the Year on multiple occasions.
In mid-June, the school administration told the coach he would not be brought back in either of his positions in the 2019-20 school year, according to News12 in Westchester. The school told Sassone he did not have the administrative certification needed to be an athletic director, according to the commissioner's regulations for the district. Buzzetto claims the move has more to do with school administrators wanting to take control of the district's athletic department.
"I'm going to be a very integral part in attending board meetings and seeing what is really going on in my town," said Buzzetto, who teaches in another district but lives in North Salem.
At a North Salem Board of Education meeting Monday, dozens of former players spoke on Sassone's behalf, asking for answers about their former coach, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year, the Daily Voice reported.
Buzzetto resigned this week after coaching for the past 10 seasons. "It's something I didn't want to do, but it's something I had to do," Buzzetto told News12. "He's done so much for the student athletes of North Salem and to be treated like this over a 31-plus year career is just horrible."
There still appears to be uncertainty surrounding Sassone's future. Officials have indicated that Sassone could remain employed by the school, but only in a physical education capacity. That said, the school has posted an opening for a temporary director of physical education and athletics.
"My goal is to continue as the department chair and the athletic director here at North Salem," said Sassone, as reported by News12. The Daily Voice reported that after attending Monday's meeting, Sassone shared his thoughts in a prepared statement, "There's a lot of work to be done yet here at North Salem. We have some problems. We need athletic fields, we need additional transportation, we're having a difficult time finding coaches. In today's world, it's tough to retain coaches. The atmosphere is very difficult."