By Jim Hague
Chris Strumolo had provided stability as the head football coach at Belleville High School. The Nutley native took over coaching the Buccaneers three years ago and guided the Bucs to two three-win seasons and then had a solid 5-5 season in 2010. The Bucs had some talented players returning this season and Strumolo had those players getting into shape for the coming grid season, one that certainly had some promise.
“I was confident going into this season,” Strumolo said. “We were going to be able to put some good things together. I felt we were moving in the right direction and we had the chance to win a lot of games.”
But apparently, that wasn’t good enough, because last week, the Belleville Board of Education appointed former assistant coach John Dubuque as the new head coach.
According to new Belleville athletic director Tom D’Elia, who just completed his first year as the AD after the death of former AD Karen Fuccello, the decision to not re-hire Strumolo was strictly his choice.
“It was a difficult decision and it was nothing personal,” D’Elia said. “It’s a decision that came heavy on my heart. But it’s nothing more than being a move to bring in a coach that is going to allow us to move forward. It is no reflection on Chris’ coaching style or his ability to run the program. It’s just a decision that I felt that needed to be made.”