BOYERTOWN >> The head coaching future of Justin Konnick at Boyertown was placed into question this week.
Konnick, who completed his first year as Bears’ head football coach last fall, was asked to resign by Boyertown administration on Monday.
Requests for comment from Boyertown administrators were directed to district Communications Specialist Alison Moyer, who stated, “This is a personnel matter. The district cannot comment on personnel matters.”
Konnick confirmed the resignation request when reached by phone Thursday.
The 1997 Boyertown graduate who also leads the American Legion baseball program has declined to resign.
“I care about the kids, care about the football program, the community and that’s why I came home to do that,” Konnick said. “I want to coach football. I want to be there.”
High school coaching contracts are customarily one-year pacts for the duration of the school calendar year – as is the case for Konnick – meaning a coach’s contract must be renewed every year.
Konnick did not state the reasons Boyertown administration cited that led to the call for resignation.
A significant amount of public support for Konnick has been shown this week, including extensive comments at the district school board meeting and an online petition.
Konnick was previously the head baseball coach at Penn State-Berks but chose to ‘come home’ to lead the Legion baseball team beginning in 2021. He subsequently took over the football team, officially approved to the role March 8, 2022.
The Bears went 5-6 last fall, Konnick’s first season at the helm after taking over from T.J. Miller, who stepped down after five years in the position to take an administrator’s role at Gov. Mifflin. The season included wins over Upper Perkiomen, Pottsgrove, and District 1-6A qualifier Owen J. Roberts. They also hosted the Eastern Conference Class 5A/6A championship game, losing to Williamsport.
Football players and parents attended and spoke extensively during the public comment section of the regularly scheduled meeting of the Boyertown School Board Tuesday night at the district’s Education Center.
Nine players spoke during an extended comment period.
“What Coach Konnick does for us as a team goes so much farther than just us as players, and as being football players,” said junior Anthony Genovese. “I think everyone really needs to hear about what he does for us as people too.”
“Never in my nine years of Boyertown football have I had my team feel so unified as a family, together, and that’s all because of Coach Konnick,” said Nick Billetta.
“He taught us more than offense and defense,” added Nick Panarello. “He’s taught us life lessons. He’s taught us to stay strong even when we’re down. He’s taught us to push through even when we think we can’t.”
Board member Jeffrey Zawada thanked those who had come to the meeting to voice their feelings.
“I appreciate everybody that came out tonight,” he said. “We are listening. I appreciate the passion for all of the people that showed up tonight. It means a lot and it shows the love you have for your coach and that’s hard to find in this day and age.”
Additionally, a “Keep Coach Justin Konnick” petition was started at change.org on Wednesday afternoon and had received over 1,000 signatures. The petition has since been closed.
Konnick expressed appreciation over the public support but doesn’t want further unrest over his coaching status.
“The support I got through kids speaking, I got real emotional over that. Sometimes you wonder if you’re making a difference. After hearing all of that and the support I got, I’m completely flattered.
“I’m flattered, I am. But at the same time I want people to focus on the positive of the football program and the school district.”