Jeremy Osso has been fired as football coach at Costa Mesa High, he said Wednesday night.
Prinicipal Phil D'Agostino said he has decided for the school to go in a different direction.
Wally Grant, a Costa Mesa alumnus who was the defensive coordinator last season, will be the football team's interim coach, D'Agostino said.
Osso said he was removed because he did not have a teaching credential.
"I just don't think I was Phil's guy," Osso said. "That's OK he's the principal and he makes the decisions. If I'm not his guy that's fine I can live with that."
Grant, who has been an assistant at Mesa before, does not have a teaching credential, Osso said.
"The plan moving forward is that we're hopeful to have an on-campus coach for the long-term; someone who will teach on campus down the road," Costa Mesa boys' athletic director Jim Kiefer said of the footbal coaching position.
Osso said he was asked to stay with the program as the offensive coordinator.
"To me that was them trying to save face," Osso said.
Osso turned down the offer and said good-bye to his players.
"I got the chance to let them know that I love them and I appreciated all they did for the program," Osso said.
Osso, an Estancia High alumnus, went 20-33 in five seasons at Mesa, leading the Mustangs to a share of the Orange Coast League title in 2007 and an outright league championship in 2008. He guided Costa Mesa to the playoffs, 2007, 2008, 2009, each time losing in the first round.
The Mustangs went 3-7 last season and missed the playoffs.
Osso, who worked as an assistant from 2001 to 2003, took over the program in 2006, when former coach Jay Johnston resigned. Osso became the fourth coach in as many years. He inherited a team that went 2-8 the previous season and had not made the playoffs since 2002.
"Over the past couple of days Jeremy and I have been talking about the future of the football program and it's been decided that we're going in a different direction," D'Agostino said. "I have every confidence that Coach Grant will move the program forward.
"I appreciate all the work and service that Jeremy Osso has given to the program and I wish him the best."
Asked if a new coach would be hired before the upcoming season, D'Agostino said: "At this time Wally is our head coach and I don't anticipate any other staffing changes at this point."
Osso said he wasn't expecting the firing and is not sure what he will do next.
"It happened so quick," he said.
Osso also said, "whoever takes over is taking over a fantastic program."
"It was going in the right direction," he said. "We stopped the holes in the boat and we patched it all up and it was ready to go."