Stan Sexton, who guided Phoebus to a state championship in each of his first three seasons, is done as the Phantoms' head coach.
A Hampton City Schools release on Friday said Jeremy Blunt will remain Phoebus' acting head coach for the remainder of the season. There was no mention of Sexton, but HCS spokesperson Ann Stephens-Cherry confirmed Sexton will not return as head coach.
Sexton went 47-2 in three and a half seasons with the Phantoms. He was 23-19 in four years at Warwick before returning to his alma mater in 2009.
Sexton declined comment Friday afternoon. According to Stephens-Cherry, he will keep his teaching job but be transferred to Kecoughtan.
"I sure hate to hear that," Woodside coach Danny Dodson said of Sexton not returning. "I've always thought he was a good person and a good football coach."
Hampton coach Mike Smith had a similar reaction.
"I really like Stan and I've always thought he was a good coach," Smith said. "Stan and I always got along fine."
The events that led to Sexton’s departure began Sept. 25 when, according to a Hampton police spokesman, a verbal altercation in practice led to a fight between two players. One was sent to the hospital, the other was suspended for two games.
The next day, HCS sent out a 30-word statement saying Blunt had been named acting head coach. The release did not mention Sexton’s name or that he had been suspended.
Phoebus has gone 3-0 since the shake-up with wins over Bethel, Menchville and Denbigh.
It was the second coaching change in the Peninsula District this week. On Thursday, Gloucester announced the resignation of coach Sonny Merchant, who will be replaced in the interim by defensive coordinator Ken Hardcastle.
Blunt, a 2002 Phoebus graduate, had been an assistant coach for the Phantoms four seasons. He is also the defensive coordinator.
Justin "Boom Box" Lyles, a former Phoebus' linebacker whose younger brother, Kevin, is a current starter, said Blunt will do a good job with the program.
"Coach Blunt knows what he's doing," he said. "They're going to be OK. He's the perfect guy."
Sexton, a 1983 Phoebus graduate, took over for
Bill Dee prior to the 2009 season. He won his first 37 games to extend the program’s overall winning streak to a VHSL record 52 games.
But there was controversy. Following a 36-17 win over Stone Bridge in the 2010 Group AAA Division 5 championship game, some Phoebus players stole personal items from a locker room they were sharing with Battlefield High.
All items were returned, and Battlefield athletic director Ben Stutler praised how Phoebus handled the situation. Sexton wrote a public letter of apology in which he took responsibility and used the words “embarrassed” and “humiliated.”
On Jan. 14, 2011, the Virginia High School League placed Phoebus on a three-year warning period, which is defined as “official notice that an inexcusable, unethical or unsportsmanlike action has occurred.” A VHSL spokesperson said this latest incident is considered an “internal matter” and not relevant to the warning period.