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Bill Ashton out as Eastport-South Manor football coach

Ashton says he was fired for not following safety protocol.

Bill Ashton coached the Eastport-South Manor football team

Bill Ashton coached the Eastport-South Manor football team for five years. Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Bill Ashton was removed from his role as the varsity football coach at Eastport-South Manor High School on Thursday.  

A statement released by the school district cited a failure to follow safety protocols.

"The Eastport-South Manor Central School District made staff changes to its varsity football coaching staff...," the district's statement read. "The district expects all coaches to strictly adhere to safety protocol at all times. When safety protocols are not followed, a student-athlete’s health is put at risk. These risks would be unacceptable at any time."

Ashton said he was called into a meeting Thursday morning with the district's superintendent Patrick Brimstein, assistant superintendent Linda Weiss and business manager Tim Laube.

"I was told that I was no longer the football coach at Eastport-South Manor," Ashton said. "I asked why I was being removed. And the reason behind the firing was that I didn't follow the proper concussion protocol two weeks ago -- that I waited too long to get a player into the protocol. No one said anything to me about this situation in two weeks -- why now?"

School officials did not respond to calls for comment and referred Newsday to the district's statement.

"While the district is legally prohibited from commenting on personnel matters, it should be noted the safety of our student-athletes is of highest importance," the statement said.

Section XI, the governing body of Suffolk County high school sports, follows New York State's concussion management protocol, which says that any athlete suspected of having a concussion must be removed from the athletic activity until an evaluation can be completed by a medical provider. Once an athlete has been removed from play, he or she must receive written permission by a physician to return to the athletic activity.

Ashton, who has been the head coach for five years, said he felt he did nothing wrong and has been an asset to the players and the football program in the community. 

"My players are outraged and so are the parents," he said. "I'm hoping something can be done to change the decision."

Ashton said offensive line coach Chris Prokech will coach the team on Friday when the Sharks host Half Hollow Hills East in a 6 p.m. scrimmage.

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