Different expectations led to Stewart's resignation

‘Different expectations’ led to Stewart’s resignation

Different expectations led to Lely football coach Stacey Stewart’s resignation.

“Florida and Georgia are different when it came to expectations and lifestyle,” Lely Principal Leslie Ricciardelli said on Wednesday. The (football) culture is different. It wasn’t a good fit.”

Stewart turned in his resignation on June 5 after speaking with Ricciardelli and Matt Kuk, Lely activities director.

The position is posted on the Florida High School Athletic Association website until June 28.

Ricciardelli said there are already several applicants, from all over the country. Once the posted date is passed then applications will be reviewed.

“I have nothing but respect for him as a person and father,” Ricciardelli said. “Where he came from coaches didn’t have to teach. Here, teaching is your career.”

Reached on Wednesday, Stewart said that coaches do teach during the football season. He said his former school was on a block schedule and that students took four classes a day. He taught three classes a day.

Stewart will stay on as a physical education teacher.

Following his resignation on June 5 Stewart did talk about the differences at Lely and Camden County High School in Kingsland, Ga. He was part of a coaching staff that went 97-11, winning two state titles and eight straight regional crowns.

“There, with smaller towns, football was extremely important,” he said. “There would be 10,000 people at games. The head football coach was right behind the principal for importance in the building.”

Lely was different. It wasn’t a small community. The fan base was different. There might be less than 1,000 at games.

Ricciardelli said she met with some of the football players on Wednesday morning while they took part in conditioning drills.

“I told them to appreciate every minute they had that Stewart gave them,” she said. “Coaches almost do the job for free. I know they give countless hours with the kids. I welcome him as a teacher and will support him any way I can.”

Stewart made it clear that he intended to head the football camps at the Greater Marco Family YMCA. The camps will be June 24-28 and July 29-Aug.2. Stewart’s resignation marked the third high-profile coach to resign at Lely.

Ryan Bowen, basketball and Daniel Selvey, volleyball, resigned. Bowen’s resignation came in the middle of the basketball season, while Selvey’s came after the season. The reasons were not given. The Naples Daily News filed Freedom of Information Act requests with the school district, but has not received a response.

When asked about the resignations, Ricciardelli said, “It happens sometimes. They all remain as teachers. I truly care about these people.”

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