After an 18-year run, Mountain Vista High School's varsity football head coach Ric Cash has resigned, citing a “toxicity” that exists in the football program.
“There are multiple things going on that need to be addressed,” Cash said. “I'm not going to get into great detail because there are way too many things to even begin to mention. It didn't have to do with the wins and losses, it had to do with the culture of the program.”
The Golden Eagles' football program comprises 130 to 150 players and 21 staff members throughout the varsity, junior varsity and freshman levels. The varsity team won just one of its 10 games this fall. The team posted records of 5-5 each of the previous two seasons, after having finished with winning records in 2014 and 2015.
Cash announced his resignation the morning of Dec. 4. He will continue teaching physical education at the school.
An article posted online by the school's media, Vista Now!, said some varsity players knew there would be changes after this year's “rough” season, but they didn't expect Cash to be the one to leave.
“I was shocked when he was the one who decided to step down,” junior Matt Smith said, according to the Vista Now! article. “We all knew he had plans for the future and with his family, but it was a big step for him.”
Cash said changes in the community and “where people put their priorities” played a part in his resignation, though he did not provide specifics. In the weeks leading up to his announcement, he had conversations with the school's principal, Mike Weaver, and the school's athletic director, Jim Flanigan, about how to revitalize the football program.
Cash came to the conclusion that the program needs a new coach with a fresh perspective, he said.
“For me, I'm doing something that I feel is best for the program,” Cash said. “When I came to my decision at the end of last week, I had a very genuine peace in my heart about it.”
Flanigan called Cash a man of integrity who did what he believed was in the best interest of his players.
“We are very saddened that that era has come to an end,” Flanigan said. “Anytime that someone has been somewhere for 18 years, things sometimes run their course.”
Cash started at Mountain Vista when it first opened in 2000. His middle child was the first child born to a staff member. Three of his five children have graduated from the school and two are on track to do the same.
“To call it a second home is an understatement,” Cash said. “My kids have, for the most part, grown up there.”
Two years ago, Cash's wife, Susan, lost her battle to breast cancer. She worked as an elementary school teacher in Douglas County and coached tennis at Mountain Vista. The school rallied around the Cash family, hosting fundraisers to help with medical bills and organizing meals to be delivered to their home.
In May 2017, the high school dedicated its tennis courts in honor of Susan Cash.
“The school and the football community and so many others supported us and encouraged us through that unimaginably difficult time,” Cash said. “For us, it's a place that has been near and dear to us through some very hard times.”
Flanigan posted a job opening for the head coach position on Dec. 5. He plans to get feedback from parents and students, and conduct interviews after the holiday break.
Though Cash is unsure of where his future lies in coaching, he remains dedicated to the Golden Eagles.
“I told my players that I will be their biggest supporter,” he said.
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