Dozens of students organized a rally Monday afternoon in effort to save the school’s longtime football coach, Keith Sachs, after receiving word that that would not be re-appointed to the position next year.
The rally, which was attended by football players as well as athletes from other Warrior sports, featured chants of “we want Sachs” and “don’t sack Sachs.”
The Wantagh Board of Education recently voted to not renew the football contact of Sachs, who has won over 100 games on the gridiron since becoming the Warriors' head coach in 1992. Sachs has also been Wantagh's head baseball coach since 1994.
Wantagh district officials did not immediately respond for comment on why Sachs, who is also a physical education teacher at Wantagh High School, is not being asked to return as football coach or if a replacement has been tapped. School security personnel monitored the hour-long rally.
The school board's decision does not impact Sachs coaching the Wantagh baseball team, a program he has helped lead to a Long Island title last year and state championship in 1998.
The Wantagh football players who rallied Monday spoke of how much Sachs has meant to them beyond his coaching and indicated how the protest was organized without their head coach having any knowledge of it.
“The guy does everything for everybody,” said Ryan Walsh, tight end and captain of last year’s football team. “We’re here to support him and see if we can save his job.”
When Sachs took over the Wantagh football program in 1992, he inherited a team that had gone winless the previous season. Sachs has gone 109-66-1 in 19 seasons including capturing a Long Island Class III title in 2001 and a Nassau County championship in 2004. Sachs has led the Warriors to eight Nassau County title games, including six between 2000-2009.
Sachs declined to comment on the school board not re-appointing him as head football coach.
Wantagh senior Ryan Sliwak, who was a star wide receiver for the Warriors, spoke after the rally about how supportive Sachs has been to him after losing his father during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center.
“I lost my dad 10 years ago and [Sachs] is the closest thing I have had to a father,” said Sliwak. “He’s a father figure to all the players.”
The players at the rally are planning to attend this Thursday’s Wantagh board meeting in another show of solidarity for Coach Sachs. The players are hoping to convince the school board to change their decision.
“We just want to be heard,” said Walsh.