The beloved coach and former New England Patriots star Tebucky Jones is just days away from losing his head coaching job at New Britain High, all because his state permit has lapsed.
The certifications are important, especially in football because they deal with player safety and concussion protocol.
Tebucky Jones led the New Britain Hurricanes for six seasons.
Jones did have the five-year permit, so he was good to go when he started in 2011, but it expired right before last season started.
“The state has put that in place for good reason, so that our kids always have someone in on the front line who know how to respond,” said New Britain School Superintendent Nancy Sarra, who took over the job a year ago and says she inherited a system that wasn't organized when it came to coach certification. “Because processes were not in place and standards were not in place it's somewhat hard to hold someone to a standard that wasn't present.”
Sarra said she didn't even realize Jones and eight other coaches district-wide weren't up to date until right before the final game of the football season.
“I'm thanking a parent or community member who actually reached out to say 'are you aware that some of your coaches don't have certification’,” she said.
That set off a flurry of activity over the winter. Starting in November, right after Sarra got the call, human resources notified the athletic director of all nine coaches who weren't up to date.
The district followed up in December.
In January, coaches who weren't certified were pulled from their job, like wrestling coach Charles Ferguson. He eventually got re-certified.
In February, the district brought the certification classes, which can run in the hundreds of dollars, in-house, trying to make it as easy as possible to keep coaches in the Hurricane family.
Right now, according to a state database, three of the nine are still not current. Joseph bailey, James Jones, and Tebucky Jones.
Eyewitness News tried to reach out to Jones, but the number for him was not in service.
“I met with the athletic director yesterday and said to him, 'I want you to personally call all the coaches,' because I want to give them the opportunity to get the paperwork,” Sarra said.
New Britain High parents know how much the coach meant the kids and wish he would get re-certified.
“If the kids like him, I don't think it's too late for him to get it done, get it done for next year,” said Nancy Kowalec.
“He shouldn't be coaching. You need CPR just in case something happens. Concussions, it is football,” said Laura Martinez, of New Britain.
The district has extended the deadline to get the re-certification process going to May 9.
It is unclear if Jones will get it done, but if he doesn't, he most likely won't be the coach.
The state and the CIAC haven’t returned requests for comment at this time.
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