March 3, 2011

Castleton State coach forced to resign

More news about: Castleton
By Tom Haley
Rutland (Vt.) Herald

Rich Alercio was asked to step down.
Rutland Herald photo
It seemed to be a honeymoon that would not end. Now, has ended in the worst possible way: Divorce. Rich Alercio has resigned as head football coach at Castleton State College following an internal investigation of an incident in which Alercio was alleged to have violated NCAA rules by arranging a contact which led to a significant benefit for an athlete.
 
The extra benefit was a series of three loans that were co-signed or endorsed by a part-time employee of the college. The loans totaled approximately $22,000 over a two-year period.
 
Castleton State President David Wolk accepted Alercio's resignation and promoted defensive coordinator Marc Klatt to the head coaching position.
 
"The college submitted a thorough report to the NCAA and now awaits the association's findings," Wolk said. "We have concluded this is an isolated incident."
 
Alercio was the first coach in Castleton football history, having been chosen from a field of well over 100 candidates when the program was launched. The Spartans' first season was in 2009.
 
The program enjoyed rapid improvement under Alercio, going 3-6 that first year and 5-4 last season with a record of 5-2 in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference.
 
Addressing the players, staff and Friends of Castleton State football on Tuesday, Alercio said, ""Regrettably, I must announce my resignation as head football coach at Castleton State College. We have unfortunately discovered a National Collegiate Athletic Association compliance violation placing our young program and this school in jeopardy of NCAA penalties.
 
"While I believe in my heart the violation occured without forethought, artifice, or mal-intent, it occured nonetheless. As the head coach of this program, I am responsible for all that happens in it, both on the field and off.
 
"Just as i have analyzed thousands of hours of game film over my career, I've played this scenario in my head over and over as well. In hindsight, it's clear we should have had a proactive NCAA compliance program. Given the potential ramifications to the school, perhaps the entire athletic department should have a dedicated resource safeguarding the interests of all Spartan athletics. I leave that lesson learned to those who build upon this foundation, as it is certainly one I will carry forward.
 
"I remain respectful of coach Alercio and what he has otherwise accomplished thus far for our team and the college. I will speak positively about his future prospects with future employees," Wolk said.
 
Klatt was the only other full-time coach on the staff. He came to Castleton in the summer od 2008 after 12 years of coaching at the high school and college levels. He was on the staff at NCAA Division II St. Cloud State in Minnesota when he was hand picked by Alercio to help him start the new Castleton program.
 
"We are fortunate to have an able and respected successor on our staff," Wolk said. "Coach Klatt has an impressive record of coaching, teaching, recruiting, and mentoring that makes his the best person for the job. He will provide a smooth transitionand lead the team's forward progress in all the areas that matter to the student athletes and the college.
 
Klatt assumes the head coaching duties immediately.
 
"I'm proud of my team, I'm proud of my staff, I'm blessed to have a wonderful family and friends and a community that has embraced our family. It has been my extraordinary privilege to be the first Castleton football coach," Alercio said.
 
The announcement of his resignation was only made Tuesday, but there were signs, as subtle as body language, back on Feb. 13 at the team's annual banquet that not all was well in the Spartan football family.
 
The team had a prolific offense that was among the best in the nation that helped it achieve its winning record in just its second season.
 
Alercio said he has no job at this time and does not want to rush into the wrong situation.
 
Tom Haley is also D3football.com's Around the Northeast columnist and can be reached at tom.haley@rutlandherald.com 



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