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The La Salle-Peru boys soccer team is undergoing a midseason shakeup.
In a special meeting on Tuesday, the La Salle-Peru Township High School Board of Education approved the hiring of Ryan Duffy as L-P’s new boys soccer coach.
Duffy takes over the program from former coach Brian Robson, whose resignation was also accepted Tuesday.
Duffy, a counselor at L-P who helped coach the L-P intramural girls soccer team last spring, spent the first half of the season as an assistant to Robson.
Robson tendered his resignation Friday after drawing an indefinite suspension for being ejected in last Tuesday’s game against Streator.
This will be the first varsity head coaching assignment for the 29-year-old Duffy, who played striker and midfielder at Brother Rice High School.
“It is definitely a unique situation, and it’s not one without some mixed emotions,” Duffy said. “Of course, at the end of the day, this is all about the students. It’s all about my players. It’s all about L-P soccer. While I have every respect and a lot of admiration for our former coach, I’m just excited that I get to continue working with this group of kids.”
Duffy aims to continue the development of the Cavaliers soccer program.
“The goal for our program is to continue to advance our play on the field and the way we carry ourselves off the field,” he said. “We want to have the look of a program with pride and every minute — 80 minutes a game — we want to play with pride.”
Following Tuesday’s game, Robson said that early last Friday morning he inadvertently was sent a copy of an L-P administration email that recommended his dismissal, and he resigned later that morning after meeting with the administration.
“After (Tuesday’s) game, I was told I would have to wait until Friday to hear about what the administration decided,” Robson said. “I got an email saying that I had been terminated. Apparently, it was a mistake that it had been (carbon copied to me) by accident. I totally understand that it was a mistake and it shouldn’t have come to me.
“What happened was I was given the opportunity to resign as opposed to termination.”
The former coach, who had also previously been ejected during a contest early in his coaching career at L-P, said the circumstances that led to his removal from last Tuesday’s contest were not accurately conveyed in the officials’ report.
“(L-P’s administration) believed the referee’s report, which was totally incorrect,” he said. “It said that I was insulting the referee and saying he wasn’t fit for wearing the uniform. I did not say that, I never said anything like that. He falsified his report as far as I’m concerned.
“Yes, I was annoyed because all throughout the game he said he couldn’t see the ball because of the sun, so I said to him, ‘Then you need to get somewhere where you can see the ball.’
“He carded me for that, and I said ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. You’ve got to be joking,’ then he gave me another card.”
Robson said that he felt L-P made the wrong call as well after not believing his side of the story.
“Quite rightly, because the school believed what the referee put down in his report, they decided that based on that it was (worthy of) a termination. I understand that,” Robson said. “But unfortunately, the referee’s report wasn’t correct and, because it wasn’t correct, they unfortunately made a decision based on — from what I can see — one story.
“I gave my side of it, they didn’t believe it, so they said to me I could either resign or (be terminated). But I had already told the kids that I had already been fired. It wasn’t a horrible experience, but it certainly wasn’t the right decision. But what do you do?”
L-P superintendent Steve Wrobleski wished Robson the best of luck in the future but declined comment on the circumstances that lead to Robson’s resignation, citing it is the school’s policy to not comment on personnel matters.
NewsTribune Sports Writer Jared Bell contributed to this story.
Chris Yucus can be reached at 220-6995 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsChris.
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