Schools, FCIAC mum on Darien coach suspension for striking a player
Updated 2:18 pm, Wednesday, October 19, 2016
DARIEN — Newly discovered security video of high school football head coach Rob Trifone striking a player during a game has led to a doubling of his suspension.
Darien officials remained quiet after announcing Trifone, head coach of the Darien High School football team, will be suspended for two additional weeks of the football season.
On Oct. 18, the Darien School District announced they are doubling the length of the suspension after accessing a campus security video that was not previously seen, according to a press release from Superintendent Daniel Brenner. The statement did not specify what was on the video, nor has the school released the video.
Trifone was initially suspended for two weeks for hitting one of his players in the helmet during the Oct. 1 home game against Norwich Free Academy.
Brenner said he could not comment on what was in the video or what caused the extension. He also said he could not comment on the future of Trifone’s position in Darien.
“All I can say is I’m standing behind what’s in the press release,” Brenner said when asked about the incident at a Board of Education meeting Oct. 18.
Michael Harman, chairperson of the Board of Education, said the board was not involved with the decision to suspend Trifone and his suspension was the result of an investigation done by the administration.
The conditions of Trifone’s suspension were unclear and the Darien Public School website has no posted policy for such suspensions.
Calls to Chris Manfredonia, Darien High School athletic director, went unreturned.
Officials at the FCIAC, the league that Darien sports belongs to, said the matter is a town one and they have no oversight or ability to discipline.
“It’s a 100 percent school-based issue,” said Dave Schulz, FCIAC Executive Secretary in regards to the suspension.
In the incident causing the original suspension, Trifone slapped a Darien lineman on the side of the helmet after the player got into a verbal altercation with a Norwich player and had to be removed from the field.
When the player approached Trifone, he yelled at the player before slapping him open-handed on the side of the helmet.
Following the game, Trifone was told not to participate in team activity while the investigation was conducted. That resulted in a two-week suspension.
In the statement issued by the superintendent’s office, Trifone apologized for his actions.
“I take full responsibility for the incident and I am truly sorry for my actions,” Trifone said in the Oct. 17 press release. “Today I apologized to the team, explained that I fully accept the consequence of my behavior and told them I am looking forward to getting back to coaching following my suspension.”
Trifone’s suspension will now be through Oct. 30 at which time he will be reinstated to his coaching position.