Connecticut High School Football

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Ecke resigns as Cheshire football coach [Updated]


Mark Ecke

Note: This post has been updated with links to two new stories published in the aftermath of Mark Ecke’s resignation. Scroll to the bottom of the page for the latest.

Mark Ecke, who won four state championships and was an architect of one of Connecticut’s most dominating runs in the 1990s, has  resigned as head football coach at Cheshire High School after 17 seasons, 24 overall.

Ecke, who coached the final two years of Cheshire’s state-record 49-game win streak (1995 and 1996), leaves with a record of 118-64-3. He has won the most games in school history.

He got into trouble following an altercation at a junior varsity lacrosse game earlier this month.

Serious doubts about his position swirled.

Then Ecke released this statement Monday night:

“I am contacting you this evening to let you know that I have decided to decided to step down from my duties as head football coach at Cheshire High School.  It was a difficult decision, but one that I believe best serves my family, the football program and my players.

It has been my honor to coach our players over the last 24 years, players that have gone on to all levels of success not just in football but in life.    I will always have great memories of the big wins, and still lose sleep over the heartbreaking defeats.  To me, however, the wins and losses pale in comparison to the opportunity that I’ve had to be a positive influence on so many student-athletes’ lives.  I have had the chance to coach players that have honored our country with service in the military, players that have attended all the service academies, nearly every Ivy League Institution and NESCAC school and other great schools around the country.  Our program has alumni that are doctors, lawyers, teachers, police officers, and many that run their own successful businesses.  It is always a thrill to get together with them and reminisce about our time together.

If you speak with any of our players or coaches, I believe they will share with you that I am passionate about the game of football, I am passionate about our program and our players, and I am most passionate about my family.  I feel very protective of each of them, and, if I feel one of them is not being treated properly, I am vocal about it.

I look forward to new challenges for myself, and plan to coach again.  I leave behind a tremendous group of seniors that I have grown very close to.  I know that they will rise to the challenge that is being placed before them and I wish them well.

I would like to thank everyone for the countless e-mails, phone calls, and texts, as well as those that have approached me offering support over the last few weeks.  I would also like to thank my peers in the high school coaching community.  Your thoughts and words of encouragement have meant a lot to me and my family.  I would also like to thank the community, parents and the longtime supporters of Cheshire Football for all your support over the last 24 years.  It has been my honor and pleasure to work with all of you.”

See you in the fall


Some quick thoughts:

It doesn’t take a cryptologist to read between the lines of that resignation letter, especially the third paragraph. Ecke didn’t want to leave his alma mater and attempts to explain his notoriously fiery sideline demeanor.

But his superiors wanted him out after this episode. Late last week, Cheshire announced it was cancelling participation in spring practices. Though Ecke was going to get a chance to defend himself, it sounded like his job was a lost cause from the start. Maybe he realized that.

According to a follow-up from the Register on Tuesday night, that’s exactly what happened.

For such an outstanding run, it’s sad to see it end this way.

So, as Ecke rides off, where does Cheshire go from here?

This is one of the state’s plumb coaching jobs and there’s bound to be some turmoil in the aftermath of Ecke’s sudden departure.

Cheshire’s only had six head coaches in 58 years of existence. Will the administration keep the position in the Cheshire family (with associate head coach Rich Puliciano the prime candidate), or will it be looking for a fresh face?

Update: Puliciano, along with AD Steve Trifone and special teams coach Greg Ferry spoke to the Record-Journal about Ecke and the program’s future in this article published Tuesday night. Some interesting thoughts here.

Apparently, we were unaware that Puliciano stepped down from his football position last month to spend more time with his family (he’s still coaching lacrosse). So his candidacy might not be a sure thing, and he told the RJ as much.

“It’s probably the logical thing, in a sense, to put my name in there, but no one’s asked and my full attention right now is on my lacrosse team.”

Trifone, meanwhile, spoke about the process of finding a new, possibly interim, coach for the 2012 season.

“Whether or not we want to put an interim coach in or go ahead and do a search and put a permanent coach in, that will be discussed in the next couple days, with the input of the administration and myself. …First I need to see if we have interest within. We’ll take it from there … We have some good candidates. The question is do they want to take on that role.”

Sean Patrick Bowley

33 Responses

  1. HSFBF says:

    Would they go after Coach John Murphy from Masuk? – Same team colors, same offensive system, bigger program LL

  2. Jimmy says:

    Seems like there is more to this than just this incident. Seems like someone wanted him gone.

  3. the ruler says:

    come to danbury?

  4. Ballfoot says:


  5. nvl fan says:

    looks like jack cochan getting a call

  6. SWC Guy says:

    Murphy seems like the perfect fit, same offensive system, same type of kids, same type community. He’s been trying to get out of Masuk for years, everyone knows he wanted Southington job, applied 3 times. Would be great if he gets Cheshire and the people at Southington have to look across and see him on Thanksgiving. People at Masuk have to be sick of him trying to leave every year.

  7. dave k says:

    Being a Shelton fan its bitter sweet to see Coach Ecke leave. There were some classic battles between the Gaels and Cheshire during Ecke’s tenure with a playoff berth usually at stake. It always seemed he had a game plan or a special play up his sleeve to win the game.Surprisingly after some research the Gaels hold a 9-6 advantage with wins in 96,00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 08 & 11and losses in 95, 97, 98, 99, 09 & 10 The teams did not play in 06 & 07. I hope he returns to coaching soon he will be missed.

  8. Mike Ditka says:

    Who cares about Shelton – Go eat some wings.

  9. SWC Guy says:

    Murphy to Cheshire was all the buz at the FCIAC coaches clinic. Say what you want about him, but his kids love him and play for him. His body of work at Masuk is something. Take a look at the last 10 years.
    That doesn’t even count the 11 and 1 season this year. Or his first few years where they won a state title and 3 league titles. This seams to have a lot of legs. Cheshire has great tradition and needs to protect it. Murphy has never been appreciated at Masuk. My bet is Murphy stays in Red and White, just with a C on the helmet.

  10. Murph fan says:

    My opinion is Murph has finally realizes Masuk is where he needs to be. This is the first year in a long time he didn’t search elsewhere for a job in the off season.. Either that or he realizes no other school really wants him. SWC Guy you are correct, he will continue to wear red and white – but it will be in Monroe. And yes, the kids love playing for him. He is great at what he does. It’s definitely his calling in life. Hopefully he will be around for years to come.

  11. Ballfoot says:

    Any rumors were coach Ecke might coach next year?

  12. Ecke fan says:

    Why would any self respecting coach want to walk into the hornets nest Ecke had to manage on a daily basis? It is clear (by comments made) that the some parents in Cheshire are part of the cancer. This added to the horrific administration that is in Cheshire. Board of Ed (Brittingham) spoke to the press & disregarded their confidentiality agreement, Florio over reacted to the so called incident in Glastonbury & what about Trifone? Trifone is completely incompetent. It will be all rosy when the new coach starts but as soon as he looses a few games parents will by ready to boot him. Knowing how this town works, they will blame Ecke for any failures the team experiences & when they are successful it will be the new coach. That will just last so long.

    Mark is an outstanding coach & member of the Cheshire community. He will land firmly on his feet & look back & laugh at Cheshire. Not sure where he’ll end up but I’m quite sure the offers are out there. Good luck Eck

  13. Masuk fan says:

    Coach Ecke, should come to masuk!

  14. SWC Guy says:

    Masuk fan do you want to get rid of the coach that turned your nothing of a football program into one of the states best and most consistant winners. You people in Monroe really need to realize what you have. Maybe that’s why Murphy has been trying to get out of that place.

  15. Mike Ditka says:

    @14 Enough Mrs. Murphy.

  16. Panther pride says:

    Really SWC Guy- you are going to catogorize all the people in Monroe for one person’s negative blog? Most people in Monroe that have gone though the program realize Coach Murphy has been a positive influence on the Monroe football. But that comes at a high stake- unless you are involved with the program- athletic department or school administration you wouldn’t totally understand. There are many reasons why Murphy has been trying to get out. And some of those reasons he brought upon himself. I thought this was the year Masuk would sort of fade into the darkness with Cochran gone and all- but it looks like SWC Guy you want to keep Masuk on the front burner. Why?

  17. perspective says:

    Any truth to the rumor that Tom Milone is no longer playing football to concentrate on baseball? If so Masuk will definately be behind Bunnell, Newtown, Pomperaug and possibly even Brookfield and Weston in the SWC this fall

  18. I’ve asked. Thomas Milone’s father said last December his son would return. Although (and Thomas can certainly chime-in on this), he’s certainly allowed to change his mind. Either way, he can’t go wrong.

  19. Masuk Fan says:

    Thomas is 100% playing football this year. Certainly one of the best WR/RB’s in the State. Don’t underestimate this Masuk team, they are big they are athletic they have Milone and they have tradition.

  20. another fan says:

    Certainly the 2 of the best running backs in the state of Connecticut this season are,#1 Newsome at Ansonia and #2 Milone from Masuk.HANDS down.

  21. another fan says:


    Sounds like Ecke will be coaching at Trinity College as an assistant according to the other blog on this site….

  22. another fan says:

    Got to admit,Coach Ecks picture is dorky, he looks like a kid who was just given his first whistle.

  23. Pompy says:

    I thought Milone was a receiver and return man?

  24. perspective says:

    Are they going to a power I formation with Milone, I had heard that was a consideration based on the returning lineman etc. I know that suits their personnel better with the returning players they have, plus you have to get that kid the ball, and he definitely has the build and speed/ toughness to be a 30-40 carry a game back

  25. Informant says:

    Power I? I highly doubt theyll have 3 backs in the backfield perspective. Have you ever watched masuk or anyone play?

  26. Tigers25 says:

    Sleeper of the year…..

    The Ridge

  27. perspective says:

    Yea, informant, I have seen Masuk many times, including before Murphy got there, until Cochran got there, while they won a ton, it was painful to watch the tedious offense with 5 yard passes up and down the field, remember when they had a chance to go up 2 td’s vs. Staples in 2005 and they throw an out inside the 5 yard line that goes for a pick six. I’m not looking for them to adopt the Delaware wing-t. Just saying, based on their personnel, Millone with a full back is a more dangerous proposition than 4 wide and no tight end with an unproven qb! Then again, they should take a look at what Vitale from Hand did to them and use Vitale on tunnels/ bubbles to death, which I must say would be scary

  28. perspective says:

    I agree Tiger 25, the senior and junior classes at RHS were undefeated at the freshman level, and Rowe in my opinion might be the best pure passer in CT this year! I only worry about their lines, based on what I have seen at past state weightlifting competitions, and viewing them in person, they are pretty weak and lack bulk upfront. I consider them a lock for LL playoffs though

  29. CTFB12 says:

    Rowe possibly the best pure passer? Huh? TIM Boyle who by the way just committed to Boston College has that locked up. And if your saying in”CT” then you have to take in account the preps, Suffield just signed a U Miami Committ.

  30. Tigers25 says:

    Perspective, way to jump on the bandwagon. Stick to the SWC like you usually post about. Oh let me guess, those teams are going to stink!

  31. perspective says:

    easy tiger, I follow three teams: Ridgefield, Pomperaug and Torrington, I thought you would have appreciated my compliments and insight with regard to Ridge, you guys are loaded, lets hope Callahan doesn’t screw it up

  32. perspective says:

    CTFB 12, as the whole package and college prospect Boyle is the best but as far as who can spin it, I prefer Rowe, ask Jack Cochran, they were both on his elite passing league team this offseason

  33. Hatters says:

    Congrats to Coach Ecke for officially being a Danbury Hatter