Cedar Rapids Washington will be without head football coach Tony Lombardi for its regular season finale Friday at Dubuque Wahlert.
In a statement released by Washington High School administration Wednesday night, Lombardi said he agreed with Cedar Rapids Community School District decision forcing him to miss the Week 9 contest. The action was taken due to an incident after the Warriors’ loss to Cedar Rapids Prairie last Thursday at Kingston Stadium.
The situation included an exchange of words between Lombardi and a Prairie player during post-game handshakes. The interaction appeared to be heated but was quickly handled. Lombardi declined to discuss specifics.
“It was just inappropriate,” Lombardi told The Gazette in a phone interview Wednesday night. “I should not have talked to a kid from another team.”
Lombardi, in his seventh season as Warriors head coach, said he mentioned addressing the player to Prairie head coach Mike Morrissey.
“I talked to him before I talked to the kid,” said Lombardi, noting that he harbors no ill will toward the Prairie player or Morrissey.
Lombardi accepts responsibility for the incident. One he said was cause for better judgment.
“I just made a bad decision,” Lombardi told The Gazette. “I thought I was going to do something good and didn’t. When you’re dealing with someone else’s young kid, who doesn’t know you, it’s just not a good decision. It’s not going to turn out well. You don’t think that way when you work with kids your whole life.”
Lombardi will be involved in practices during the week, but will not accompany the Warriors (2-6) to Dubuque on Friday and will not attend the game at Loras College’s Rock Bowl as a spectator. Washington assistant Maurice Blue will assume head coaching duties for the game, while Warriors assistant Frank Scherrman will handle the offense.
Lombardi said the suspension will only be for one game, and he could return if Washington managed to reached the playoffs, which is unlikely.
“I used judgment that was regrettably not up to my standards nor the standards of the Washington Warriors,” Lombardi said in the released statement. “I let myself, my team and my coaches down.”
Phone messages left for Morrissey, Prairie Athletics Director Rocky Bennett and Washington Athletics Director Paul James were not immediately returned.
Earlier this year, Cedar Rapids Community School District acknowledged it investigated formal complaints made by parents about his conduct. The written complaint made allegations of verbal abuse against athletes, students and others on and off the football field.
Below is the Lombardi’s complete statement released by Washington High School officials:
Statement from Tony Lombardi, Head Football Coach, Washington High School
I’ve always held myself and my conduct as the Washington Warrior football coach to the
highest professional standards. Last Thursday, I attempted to address a
situation that occurred with a member of the visiting team. I used
judgment that regrettably was not up to my standards nor the standards
of the Washington Warriors. I let my team, myself and my coaches down.
The District and I agree that a suitable consequence for my actions
would be to miss the game Friday night. Missing the final game of the season
is an appropriate way of taking responsibility for my actions last week.
I’m deeply saddened to miss the final game of the season. I am
committed to maintaining a high level of standards as we move forward
Head Football Coach
Head Baseball Coach
Sports Performance Specialist