Eight days ago, Springstead’s girls soccer mentor Scott Wern was convinced that the retooled Lady Eagles were headed to their county-record 12th playoff berth.
The reason for the enthusiasm was the return to health of three starters who were injured last winter, along with the addition of Hernando High transfer Nicole Sullivan.
After handing Central its first loss on Monday night, 7-0, to improve to 4-0-1 overall, the 43-year-old Wern abruptly stepped down Tuesday morning.
Wern was crystal clear that he was not pressured by either athletic director Bob Levija or principal Carmine Rufa to resign.
“I love a challenge. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t do it,” explained the respiratory therapist for Florida Hospital. “I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. And I couldn’t stick it out till the end of the season.”
Wern explained, “I resigned on my own accord. Yesterday, I fielded two calls from parents, who were upset about their kid’s playing time. There’s a general sense of entitlement that I don’t agree with. Most of this stuff is frivolous, but I’ve been dealing with it for nearly four years.”
“I laid the foundation for a successful season,” noted Wern, who departs with a career 44-19-5 (67 percent) slate. “Whoever takes over, I wish them the best.”
Levija defended Wern, saying, “He did an outstanding job; I’m going to miss him.”
Former Springstead principal Susan Duval also defended Wern’s original hire.
“When Scott came in, the program wasn’t in the best of shape,” recalled Duval. “He came in and did amazing things. What he did with fundraising go above and beyond what most coaches would ever do to make sure the kids had those little extras.”
The first-year Rufa said of Wern’s departure, “It’s unfortunate. Everybody knows coaches don’t do this for the money. We hope to have someone in place by Thursday. We’ve already posted an opening for the position online.”
Rufa made it clear the administration didn’t oust Wern, adding, “I didn’t know him personally. He’s an off-campus coach. I was in Wern’s shoes before. As a (softball) coach, you hear things and they go through one ear and out the there. I think he was tired of hearing all the chirping.”
On where the program is headed, “We’ve got some decent talent,” insisted Rufa. “Hopefully, we can have someone come in and not upset the applecart. Those kids have been playing well; we don’t want them to stumble.”
By the numbers: Scott Wern (2011-14)
– Compiled by TONY CASTRO
YEAR W L T .PCT GS GA
2011-12 10 9 1 .526 62 43
2012-13#= 17 5 1 .773 115 31
2013-14 13 5 2 .722 82 36
2014-15 4 0 1 1.000 41 6
TOTALS 44 19 5 .677 300 116
# Denotes Hernando County champions.
= Denotes district runner-up.