September 12 - Exercising a clause that allows state employees to rescind a resignation within a 48-hour period and in a decision reached after seeking legal counsel this morning, Colgan coach Mike Colangelo this afternoon reversed yesterday’s announcement that he would be stepping down as the head coach at Colgan High School in Manassas.
Colangelo, the first coach at Prince WIlliam County’s newest school and the owner of Colangelo Baseball and general manager of the Marucci Stars and Virginia Stars youth travel program, is entering his third year as the Sharks’ skipper. He resigned yesterday morning after receiving a phone call from the school’s athletic director, Dave Huckestein, who informed him he was losing the ability to rent Colgan’s fields for use by the Stars. When questioned as to why, Huckestein indicated it was because of a potential conflict of interest.
Colangelo then made the decision to resign.
The coach said Huckestein was initially under the impression that the Prince William County School Division had approved on Monday night a new guideline that head coaches in the county were not able to own businesses that trained players or fielded teams in the same sport. It was later revealed, however, that no policy had been approved and the directive to issue Colangelo with a mandate was handed down by unidentified “higher-ups” within the school system.
“For me, I can’t back down,” Colangelo said when reached this afternoon. “I need to fight, and not just for me but for my players and all the other coaches who also own a business. When you have zero complaints from your parents and zero complaints in your coaching file, then what’s the issue?”
Potential conflicts between the coach’s role at Colgan and with the Stars and his baseball academy were originally brought forth through the efforts of Prince William County Chief Internal Auditor Gary Maness, but his findings were found inconclusive. Colangelo continues to work with his attorney and the school system to produce needed financial documentation of field use.
The issue gained public attention in April, when a local news station, ABC7, ran a story that many in the baseball community felt was slanted and included a form of ‘amush journalism’ when Colangelo was approached by a news camera and reporter just minutes before the start of one of Colgan’s games.
“It once again shows you that we have a misinformed local government that doesn’t do its due diligence,” Colangelo said. “They make speculations and accusations and they ran into someone who isn’t going to back down. I’m going to fight to keep my coaching position and for my players.
I do want to make it clear, I don’t fault my athletic director or principal for this, but rather a lack of communication between the school division and the school.”
Colgan has gone 17-27 over its two seasons under the former Major League outfielder, who was a prep standout at C.D. Hylton before going on to star at George Mason University. They were 12-11 this past spring and earned their first berth in the Region 6C Tournament, where they beat T.C. Williams, 7-3, before falling in the quarterfinals, 6-1, to Lake Braddock, which was then ranked No. 1 in the Northern Virginia Top 10 Poll.
The school opened in the fall of 2016 and immediately fielded its teams at the Class 6 level, is a member of the Cardinal District.
The Sharks have a strong returning nucleus led by second-team all-state outfielder Ryley Johnson, a junior who committed to play at East Carolina University after hitting .482 with 23 steals last season. Also back is second-team all-region selection Brady Carter, who will anchor a talented pitching staff that also includes juniors Jared Dingus and left-hander Everett Catlett.
“Coach Colangelo is the best coach that I have ever had the chance to play against and for because of the way he cares for his players,” Carter wrote earlier today via text message. “He has taught me so much as a baseball player and teenager. I can’t imagine Colgan baseball without him being there.
Added Johnson: “Yes, he wants you to be great at baseball but he cares more about the person you are going to be when you’re older … I think of him as my second dad, he loves his kids, loves trying to make people better physically and mentally. He has so much passion for what he does for a living … he will do anything for us and we will do anything to keep him. He’s family to all of us.”
Huckestein has not responded to multiple requests for comment.
Note: This story has been updated since its original posting yesterday afternoon.
Photo of Mike Colangelo by Jim Halling