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Skaneateles football coaching search: Who’s interviewed for job amid dispute with Sindoni?

Syracuse.com logo Syracuse.com 3/4/2021 Lindsay Kramer, syracuse.com

Syracuse, N.Y. — Skaneateles’ search for a new football coach has included at least four prominent local candidates, one of whom was offered the job but turned it down.

Westhill assistant Jack Hayes was offered the position but decided against it, according to Warriors head coach Adam Griffo. Hayes, former head coach at Chittenango, has a son who could be a future varsity player at Westhill, and Hayes wants to be in a position to work with him, Griffo said.

Paul Sealy, who has coached at several Section III high schools, said he was interviewed but was told he will not get the job. Former Corcoran coach Tim Schmidt, now an assistant at West Genesee, also said he spoke with Lakers officials and was informed he will not get the position.

“It was fine. It was a good interview,” Schmidt said Thursday. “It was very professionally done. I have no idea where they are going at this point.”

Solvay head coach Daniel Salisbury said one of his assistants, Mike Acchione, interviewed for the Skaneateles job. Salisbury said as far as he knows, Acchione is still a member of his staff.

Acchione and Hayes did not return messages seeking comment.

Skaneateles is trying to replace Joe Sindoni, with whom it is embroiled in a legal dispute. The district decided not to renew Sindoni’s contract after his peripheral involvement in a Turkey Bowl pickup game of current and former players on Thanksgiving that it deemed inappropriate during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sindoni denied any wrongdoing and sued for reinstatement. Onondaga County Supreme Court Gerard Neri granted a temporary injunction in his favor last month. Skaneateles is appealing that decision.

Meanwhile, both sides are scheduled to be back in front of Neri on Monday afternoon to hash out a charge by Sindoni attorney John C. Cherundolo that the district is guilty of contempt of court. Cherundolo claims that Skaneateles violated Neri’s temporary injunction by continuing to advertise for his position and denying Sindoni and his staff’s request to reserve the high school gymnasium for conditioning sessions.

Sindoni has turned the Lakers into one of Section III’s best programs, coaching the team to the 2017 state title. But time is running out in the struggle to resolve who will be in charge of the team in this upcoming abbreviated season.

The school board on Tuesday night officially approved the return of football, with practice starting on March 15. But while the board approved the appointment of coaches to other sports, it left five football coaching spots open.

Without offering specifics, superintendent Eric Knuth said the district is doing what it needs to in order to start practice on time.

“At the advice of counsel, we’re not moving forward with any appointments at this time. But we did want to make it very clear that we are approving football and there’s a lot going on behind the scenes to make sure we have an on-time start for our kids,” Knuth said Tuesday night.

Cherundolo’s contempt charge claims that Neri’s order prevents the district from terminating Sindoni or otherwise adversely affecting his employment until the district has “provided Sindoni with a constitutionally sufficient notice of any charges or allegations against him and an opportunity to be heard concerning any such allegations or charges.”

That opportunity has yet to be provided. The district’s subsequent actions, Cherundolo wrote, “continue to communicate to the community that Sindoni endangered the health and welfare of students and has been removed from his position for that reason, which is the very irreparable harm the court’s order was meant to prevent.”

In a response filed Thursday, district lawyer Kate I. Reid disputed the claims in the contempt charge. She wrote that the district has not interviewed any coaching candidates or taken any steps to terminate Sindoni’s employment since Neri’s injuction. The four publicly identified candidates could have interviewed earlier in the process.

Additionally, an affidavit filed by athletic director Stephen Musso said the school had not received any requests from Sindoni for access to the gym.

“The district has received multiple requests from the president of the Skaneateles Football Booster Club to use the HS gymnasium for pre-season conditioning. To date, these requests have been denied because basketball practices were already scheduled to occur in the high school gymnasium during the times that were requested by the booster club,” Musso’s affidavit states.

Contact Lindsay Kramer anytime: Email 5/8 Twitter

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