Eaglecrest High School football coach abruptly resigns, cites unsafe conditions

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- The football coach at Eaglecrest High School resigned Wednesday, citing unsafe practices fields and unsanitary locker rooms.

Dustin Delaney was in his first season coaching at the Cherry Creek School District school.

“Nobody is asking for the Taj Mahal of any sort. What I asked for is simply for safe conditions for kids,” Delaney said.

In a scathing resignation letter to the district, Delaney highlights several safety concerns with the facilities his players use.

The district said it has addressed the problems, but now the team is left searching for a new coach as it heads into its second game of the season on Friday night.

Eaglecrest opened the season last week with a 49-35 victory over Highlands Ranch.

“It was a situation so toxic that change needed to happen,” Delaney said.

Delaney became coach in January, coming from a coaching position in Kansas. But when football camps got underway in June, he said the locker room had broken toilets and inoperable showers. He said the weight room was not sanitized.

“We went through the summer and they didn’t get the weight room cleaned one time. We need to not be contributing to chances of kids being injured on the practice field or kids getting skin infections like MERSA, those things in a locker room,” Delaney said.

Delaney said he found potholes in the practice field around the sprinkler heads. He said it caused two of his players to have serious knee injuries.

Another player was practicing with a preventative knee brace and hit the hole.

“The field caused him to go down and go in such a way that without the knee brace, the knee would be gone. Blown. It was 100 percent negligence on the part of the maintenance crews," Delaney said.

Delaney posted his resignation letter on Twitter, and it’s drawn some harsh criticism.

“That’s really hard. It almost put me in the hospital type of deal," Delaney said. "It’s the worst feeling possible ever. But it had become so toxic.”

“It’s unfortunate that Coach Delaney decided to leave his team at this point in the season," the district said in a statement. "We have addressed concerns raised by Mr. Delaney over the summer.

"Eaglecrest has a long record of success academically and athletically and our focus moving forward is on our students. We met with players and parents this afternoon and look forward to a successful season with a new coaching staff.”

Delaney said the school filed some of the holes on the practice field but that only made the issue worse.

“Some of the holes were filled, they filled them with dirt mixed with gravel and rock -- some up to my fist size," Delaney said. "We walked around as coaches filling our pockets with rocks off the field from where they filled the pot holes,” Delaney said.

Eaglecrest reached the 5A state championship game last season.

“Yeah, but it’s not about that," Delaney said. "Winning and losing, you’re supposed to do that as a coach, but you also have to protect your players. I’m not willing to sacrifice a kid’s career to win a state championship.”

Delany views himself as a whistleblower for a program he says has been plagued with problems.

“I’m hoping my resignation jump-starts a change," Delaney said. "For the better. For the kids. For their safety.”

Delaney will remain a physical education teacher within the district. He and his wife are still under teaching contracts.

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