For the first time in 21 years, Tuttle football is without a head coach.
Philip Koons' letter of resignation, which was turned into the Tuttle School Board late Monday, was accepted by the same body on Friday in a special meeting inside the packed Administration Building. Dozens had turned up, either to see the outcome, provide support to a coach widely respected by the community or seek answers that have so far been scant.
Vice-President Karen Osborn had to hold back tears as she read out a statement prepared by the Board after executive session. The decision to accept Koons' departure was unanimous, and Osborn said the veteran coach had personally asked the board to accept it earlier in the week.
"This came as a surprise to us," Osborn said. "We accept his resignation with sadness. It was a very tough decision, to everybody in here."
Neither Osborn nor first-year Superintendent Bobby Waitman shed any light on the reasons behind the resignation, and Koons has not returned calls to his cell phone. Osborn directed a question regarding whether or not Koons was under any sort of internal investigation by the school to Waitman, who subsequently deflected it away.
"I'm not at all in a position to talk about anything regarding a personnel matter," Waitman said. "Coach Koons made a personal decision to submit his letter of resignation, and the board simply accepted that tonight."
Waitman did say he was "surprised" by the actions of Koons, who leaves behind a 21-year stint that includes two state championships and a 205-50 record. Waitman said there was little depate during the Board's executive session.
"It was just a very wonderful conversation about a man who has done some tremendous things in Tuttle," Waitman said.