Former NFL guard Leonard Weaver is out as head coach of the Vista Park football team after just one season, marking the 13th coaching change to rock Palm Beach County high school football this offseason.
The Palm Beach County School District released a statement announcing that Park Vista is “parting ways” with Weaver and will conduct a nationwide search for coaches.
“I wish I had known in full instead of just speculating why I was released, but I haven’t and God clearly has different plans for me and my family,” Weaver said.
“We are grateful for Coach Weaver’s contributions and wish him well in the future,” Park Vista manager Enrique Vela said.
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Weaver’s contributions to Park Vista include quickly earning the respect of his athletes to post a 7-2 record – including four shutouts – in his only season as head coach.
It was Park Vista’s best winning percentage since going 10-1 in 2016-17 and improved from a 2-3 record last year.
“It saddens me and I am personally in disbelief that I was fired by the administration of Park Vista – especially given the winning season we had and the positive culture change that was taking hold,” Weaver said in a statement. statement Friday afternoon.
“It was definitely out of the blue,” Weaver said, mentioning he was just on a Zoom call with parents Thursday night to discuss player recruitment, summer camps and plans for the upcoming season. .
Park Vista players expressed shock when the former NFL Athlete and Pro Bowler told them the news of his departure around 10:30 a.m. Friday via text message.
Weaver said he asked the administration to allow him to speak with his players, but was told he “couldn’t talk to kids at all. They said it was in line with district policy.
Junior Aidan Mahon recalled all the football players called to the cafeteria, “where the administration let us all know that Coach Weaver had ‘resigned’ and they couldn’t tell us why.”
“Getting calls from my guys today and them crying, it got really emotional for me because they know what I’ve been through this year,” Weaver said.
Weaver said the players ‘saw’ and ‘understood’ the ‘different struggles across the school, the dynamics, the different things that go on’, hinting at the adversity that comes with joining a new school and redefining a culture long established by former head coach Brian Dodds, who coached at Park Vista for 15 years before stepping down last March.
“It’s been a tough year, but through it all, we’ve come together,” Weaver said.
“It wasn’t just football. Life isn’t football. It’s about these kids growing up and maturing as young men so it was hard to hear they were being treated this way and it happened this way.”
Mahon credited Weaver for rejuvenating the program and voiced his support in a Posting on Twitter Friday morning, calling Weaver “the best trainer this program has ever seen.”
“If you ask any kid who’s been in this program, they’re going to say nothing but good things about Coach Weaver,” Mahon said. “He was everything.”
Senior running back Adam Philp seconded Mahon, sharing that it was “the most comprehensive roster” he’s ever been on since he started competing in college three years ago.
“We have six seniors playing at the top level this year so far,” Philp said. “It is the maximum of the last three years.
“He taught us countless things about manhood while he was our coach. He was someone I knew I could rely on no matter the time of day.”
Weaver said he “came to Park Vista with the clear communication” that he is “more than a great coach.”
“I guide and train young men for life, even off the field,” Weaver said.
“We build each other up. We hug each other. We say ‘I love you’. We don’t swear to each other,” Weaver said.
For now, the Cobras will rely on “current team assistant coaches and staff with previous football coaching experience” to coordinate conditioning in the run-up to Spring Ball and the school is looking for its next leader.
“I wish Park Vista nothing but the best and hope that the next manager who leads Park Vista football cares as much, if not more than I, about the total player on and off the pitch.”
In the meantime, Weaver said he “is always open to opportunities” but family will come first, especially in the coming months as he and his wife are expecting another baby.
“It’s time for me to take care of her, but we’re just going to take some time and focus because I feel really bad for my guys,” Weaver said.
Emilee Smarr can be contacted at [email protected]
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Football Park Vista: Leonard Weaver no longer head coach after one season