“Death threats” drive 1-19 Middletown coach to resign

3:28 p.m Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017 Middletown

Middletown City Schools Superintendent Marlon Styles said he was “shocked” by the accusations made by the district’s former head football coach in his resignation letter.

Lance Engleka, who served as the Middies coach for two seasons, resigned Saturday, the day after the season ended. His teams lost 18 straight games and finished 1-19 during his two seasons.

In a resignation letter sent to Middletown High School Principal Carmela Cotter, Engleka wrote that the threats created an “unsafe environment” that he refused to tolerate.

Styles told this news outlet today that the district takes measures to assure every district employee is “100 percent safe.”

Engleka, 46, was hired as Middletown’s football coach in March of 2016.

He will remain dean of students at the high school, a position he was hired to this year, according to district officials.

Engleka earned $21,760 as head football coach and coordinator of weight lifting and conditioning. He earns $72,000 as dean of students, according to the district.

Styles stressed that he believes now is a great time to work and be a student in Middletown City Schools.

“Our future is bright,” he said. “We have a chance to make a positive impact. We are overly excited about what the future is for our student-athletes and our students across the district. We are working really hard to make sure we have a united front across this district.”

“Continue to believe in Middie pride,” he said today while sitting in a district conference room “It is as strong as it ever has been. We are as passionate as we ever have been. It’s exciting to be a Middie.”

Middletown Police Lt. Scott Reeve said Engleka never contacted the police department or filed a police report regarding threats.

The former Middletown High School football coach said he received online death threats and was the target of “deceitful attacks” from parents and community members, according to his resignation letter obtained by this news outlet.

Lance Engleka, who served as the Middies coach for two seasons, resigned Saturday, the day after the season ended. His teams lost 18 straight games and finished 1-19 during his two seasons.

In a resignation letter sent to Middletown High School Principal Carmela Cotter, Engleka wrote that the threats created an “unsafe environment” that he refused to tolerate.

Those threats, Engleka wrote in his letter, stemmed from “misguided community perspective on the irrational importance” of winning high school football games.

He also cited “unrealistic expectations” from parents related to their son’s abilities and future prospects.

Bullying of coaches by some parents was an “acceptable method” of communication, Engleka said in the resignation letter.

“I understand the high-profile nature and acceptable criticism associated with being the head football coach at Middletown High School, however, winning and losing at the high school level should not be a life-threatening situation,” he wrote.

Engleka also thanked several school officials for their “unwavering support” during his tenure as coach.

When contacted today by this news outlet, Engleka referred all questions to his resignation letter.

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