The last football game Sean Ritter coached for St. Monica was a triumph.
The Mariners ended a 37-game losing streak – the longest ib California – with a 21-19 win at Salesian.
However, on Thursday, January 8, Ritter was fired.
“The school principal thanked me for my three years and said the school was going in another direction,” Ritter told the Mirror.
“It’s very disappointing for me. I felt we made considerable progress and had momentum for next season.”
The development brings on the unusual circumstance that both Santa Monica schools are looking for a head football coach at the same time. Samohi is searching following the resignation of Zach Cuda following an 8-3 season.
Ritter told the St. Monica players Friday about his imminent departure. He had been a Mariner assistant for one year and the head coach in 2007 and 2008.
Although his Mariner teams went 1-19 he was not alone in trying to reverse the school’s recent football downturn. He was the third head coach during the losing streak and the first one, Jason Strouse, similarly departed after a 1-9 season.
During this period St. Monica was not competitive enough to kep its series against Samohi going. St. Monica won the first meeting five years ago, but then the games became so one-sided in the Vikings’ favor that the series was cancelled.
Ritter said he had received positive reviews right along and had submitted his plan for improving the program. In that regard he found the sudden firing especially hard to take.
Ritter said he isn’t sure if he’ll pursue other work immediately or take a year off to take courses which would upgrade his resume.
“My team went to the state playoff semi-finals in Connecticut, yet I consider the win over Salesian right up there as a highlight,” he said. “Certainly it was the highlight of my time at St. Monica.”