If you watched football team practice Monday evening, the work appeared to be routine. Yet, with the departure of longtime Coach Bill Tribou, it marked the start of a season that represents a major change.
Tribou's absence, which began with - Chappaqua school officials can't say why it was done - created uncertainty for months for the team. Last week, the school board and Tribou when he resigned with a settlement.
Tim Sullivan, the new head coach, described the team's challenge for that transition as being adversity.
“Adversity is the key word, and I think the kids have done such a great job bonding out of this and they’re overcoming the adversity,” Sullivan said, after the special public practice, held at Recreation Field in downtown Chappaqua, concluded.
Sullivan added that from the adversity, they have moved on "as a unit."
For this season, Sullivan said he is excited about the group, noting their hard work and what they have gone through with the situation over Tribou. He feels that the players are eager as well.
With the uncertainty passing, the Monday occasion was a chance to be positive.
At practice, the team did a series of drills, including stretches, jumping jacks and various passes and plays. They played through pouring rain, sunshine and a late-summer night. And when they were done, they had parents greet them with food by the gazebo.
“I think they’ve all done a terrific job of transitioning to the new coach,” said Jeffrey Mester, a school board member and father of a player on the team. He was among the parents at the practice.
While Mester could not get into specifics about Tribou's departure (other than noting the district's statement last week) he had praise for his mentor role on the team, noting that the boys did well with the transition because of what they learned from both him and the assistant coaches.
Mester, who of Tribou during his suspension, felt that parents and players will miss him “immensely.”
Mester also had praise for Sullivan, a Greeley alum who was a longtime assistant, calling his ability to take on the task "very impressive."
In addition to being the new head coach, Sullivan also owns Quaker Hill Tavern. A Somers resident, he is also a guidance counselor at Yorktown High School.
The team will have one more practice at Recreation Field Tuesday evening, with scrimmages coming up at Ossining and Pleasantville high schools, according to Sullivan. The team will hold its first regular season game on Sept. 7 at Brewster.