December 11 - The best-kept secret in Northern Virginia might very well be the job status of Colgan coach Mike Colangelo.
The first coach at the third-year Manassas school, Colangelo resigned on Sept. 11 when he was told by the school’s director of student activities, David Huckestein, that he could no longer rent the school’s field due to a conflict of interest with his role as the general manager of the Marucci Stars travel program.
The following day, after Colangelo’s attorney advised him that Prince William County Public Schools had no such policy barring coaches from renting school facilities for their businesses, the former Major League outfielder rescinded his resignation and indicated that he would like to return. In late September, the PWCS school division issued a statement clarifying that coaches were able to own businesses.
Colangelo said the school division, which will make the decision as to whether or not he returns, has told him multiple times that they would be in contact with word as to whether or not he could re-assume his duties as the program’s head coach. Yet three months later and just 10 weeks from the start of the 2019 season, he has yet to receive that answer.
In the meantime, as Sharks players and parents await word on Colangelo’s status, nobody with PWCS or the school seems to know - or want to reveal - what is going on as the ordeal continues to remain unresolved.
When contacted last month, PWCS supervisor for student activities Kelly Gardner indicated that he was under the impression Colangelo would be returning, but said official comment would need to come from the school system’s communications office. Diana Gulotta, the PWCS director of communications services, was reached and said she would check into the situation. After doing so, she responded via email that, “Mike Colangelo does not have a contract with PWCS to coach at this time.”
When pressed for simple clarification as to whether Colangelo would be returning or if the position would become open, Gulotta responded earlier this month that, “School Board policy prevents us from commenting on the status of individual personnel matters.”
The school, meanwhile, has remained mum.
Huckestein has not responded to several emails, phone messages and text messages left by the magazine, and principal Tim Healey has also not returned multiple emails. Colangelo has been responsive in attempts to contact him throughout the process, but declined comment for the story.
Virginia High School League coaches are only under contract during their season, and schools technically do not need to name a coach under any timeline prior to the season. Schools also do not need to have a reason or cause to move on from a coach after the season ends, thus the term “fired” doesn’t exist for VHSL coaches unless they have their contract terminated with cause while in season.
It is uncommon, however, for schools to go an extended period of time without a coach in place, especially in the current Virginia prep sports landscape that allows for offseason practices and workouts.
With no coach in place, the Sharks’ fall training schedule was cancelled during a period when the majority of area programs have met anywhere from 10-30 times for practices or workouts in the weight room or on the track.
VHSL teams are able to begin tryouts on Feb. 18 and games on Mar. 11.
Photo of Mike Colangelo by Jim Halling