Two assistant coaches left the Burbank High football program and four others were hired Monday in a shake-up stemming from a sideline argument among the staff in Thursday’s 28-13 loss to Crescenta Valley.
Coach Dave Kemp said Steve Lassiter and Brad Smith decided to leave because of philosophical differences. In their place, Kemp added Bruce Luizzi, a former USC football player and the 1988 Foothill League sprint champion at Burroughs High, and three former NFL players.
Former Ram and Detroit Lion center Mike McDonald, former New Orleans Saint linebacker Andre Roundtree and former New York Jet defensive back Steve Tannen will coach the positions at which they played. Luizzi will coach receivers and special teams.
“It was the frustration of the moment,” Kemp said of the sideline argument. “The players deserved more than what we were giving at that moment. It was an issue unrelated to the football team.”
Kemp said he is a close friend of Lassiter--a third-year coach at Burbank--and partly attributed the split to the resignation of former head Coach Randy Stage.
“We’re both brokenhearted about it; I hope it doesn’t wreck a friendship,” Kemp said. “I just wanted something and they didn’t. I said, ‘We’re going to do it anyhow.’ Maybe I was stubborn enough that they couldn’t coach with me.”
Stage was head coach for five years, with Kemp serving as an assistant. But Stage gave up his post this year, Kemp said, because he was out of compliance with his teaching credential.
Kemp, 54, has spent 28 years at Burbank. He started the boys’ soccer program and has coached cross-country, track and field and golf.
Taking over a varsity football program for the first time, Kemp kept Stage’s staff intact until this week.