By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
Rich Ward’s eight-year successful run as Marlboro’s football coach came to a stunning end on Monday.
Ward told Section 9 Insider that Marlboro superintendent Michael Brooks has informed him that he would not be recommended for the position for the 2018 season due to a heated text message between the fiery coach and a parent. Ward went 74-13 in eight seasons at Marlboro, leading the Iron Dukes to six Section 9 Class B championships (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017). Before Ward’s tenure, the Iron Dukes had never won a Section 9 title.
Ward sent the following text messages to Marlboro players and parents on Monday:
“This is a text I wish I was not writing. This afternoon I met with the Superintendent of Schools, Principal Lawler, and Athletic Director Ms. O’Donnell. I was informed today my Superintendent Brooks that I would not be appointed as the football coach the 2018 season. The reason for this is that there was a text exchange between myself and a parent of a JV call up at the end of this season.
There was an exchange of words where I was asking for a banquet response and I was called a “jerk” in turn I responded in an inappropriate way. With that being said, for this comment I was told to not apply for the head coach position for the 2018 season.
On another note, I would like to thank you all for all of your support, hard work and dedication over the years. As Superintendent Brooks stated to me today “Marlboro Football was successful before you and will also be successful after you”. One thing that drives me is that I can look myself in the mirror and know that our program is in better shape now financially, competitively and most importantly has more passion for not only the game but “the grind” now than it did eight years ago.
At this time, I am very upset and disagree with his decision but life does go on. I wish you all the best of luck and I would also appreciate some privacy at this time for myself and my family.”
According to Ward, who cleaned out his office at Marlboro High on Monday night, the texting incident with the parent took place in December. What stoked it, Ward said, was that he was awaiting reservations for the team’s year-end dinner and had not received an RSVP from a player that he and the coaching staff had helped by providing football equipment out of booster club funds and “their own wallets.” Ward questioned the young man’s commitment to the program and his mother texted back to Ward, calling him “a jerk.″
Ward fired back via text with the following: “Ma’am, you can go to hell and kiss my (expletive).” Ward later apologized to the mom after being instructed to do so by Brooks. The coach said on Monday that he regretted sending that text. Ward said he would like to continue to coach as a head coach or an assistant.
His impressive resume includes serving as Cornwall’s defensive coordinator on its 2006 Class A state championship runner-up team. Ward was the winningest coach in Section 9 during his eight-year tenure at Marlboro.
Follow Justin Rodriguez on Twitter at jrodsportshs