ROCKINGHAM — For the second time in two years, Richmond Senior High School is looking for a football coach.
Mike Castellano and Richmond County Schools both confirmed that the two-season head coach turned in his resignation on Monday.
But no one is saying why.
Resignation letters are exempt under N.C. public records law and Castellano declined to tell the Daily Journal his reason for leaving —despite a 20-7 record the past two seasons.
A weekend post on NCPreps.com claimed Castellano had been fired — a thread which has since been removed — and questions began circulating on other message boards and throughout the community.
However, Dr. Cindy Goodman, superintendent of Richmond County Schools insists that his decision was voluntary, denying that he was forced to resign.
“Coach Castellano made a personal decision to resign,” she said in a Monday afternoon statement to the Daily Journal. “We appreciate all the work he has done for our program and wish him luck in his future endeavors.”
Goodman declined to disclose any details from his resignation letter, citing state personnel laws, adding any information other than the fact that he resigned and the date is confidential and would have to come from the now-former coach.
Castellano declined to comment and said he didn’t have an extra copy of the letter to send.
Castellano was hired May 20, 2015 as head football coach and social studies teacher at Richmond Senior High School, earning an annual salary of $77,500. He replaced Paul Hoggard, who stepped down March 27 of that year to accept the head coaching job at John A. Holmes High in Edenton.
He became the 10th head coach in school history.
Richmond is considered one of the premier high school coaching jobs in the state, however, during the search to fill the vacancy, there were several false starts.
Castellano’s name emerged from a eight-person committee headed by Goodman.
Goodman admitted she and the committee interviewed 13 candidates for the position, several twice, before landing on Castellano as the man to take the reins at Richmond.
He was given a one-week unpaid suspension that September after being arrested on an impaired driving charge in Cary.
Wiley Mabe, chairman of the Richmond County Board of Education told the Daily Journal that he had not discussed the issue with Castellano.
“I had heard from the superintendent that he had resigned, but I have not spoken with him,” he said. “I’m at a loss as to why, whether he’s looking for another job or found another job, looking for a career change or what.
“He came in and did a remarkable job both winning seasons, second place in the conference both times, I believe,” Mabe continued. “Positive results as far as I’m concerned. He’s a young man, he’s got a bright future and I hate to see him go.”
Goodman said the search for a new coach will begin immediately — though the job hadn’t yet been posted Monday evening — “in order to ensure a seamless transition.”
She added that the timeline is “currently unclear.”
“Our goal,” she said, “is to find the best fit for Richmond County Schools.”
Sports editor Leon Hargrove and reporter Melonie McLaurin contributed to this story. Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 and follow him on Twitter @William_r_toler.