Central Catholic football coach Chris Roberts, whose hiring last year sparked a firestorm of controversy in the close-knit Central community, has resigned.
Roberts announced he was stepping down in an email to Central Catholic principal Edward Ybarra on Monday, Ybarra said Tuesday.
"I had no idea," Ybarra replied when asked if he had any indication Roberts was resigning.
Roberts, 38, did not immediately return messages left on his cell phone.
Roberts went 6-5 last season after replacing Carlos Enrico, who was the Buttons' head coach for 24 seasons before resigning last Feb 11.
While Enrico maintained he quit on his own terms, many Central Catholic alums roundly criticized school president Peter Pontolillo and the school's administration for the way Roberts' hiring was handled.
The angry alums said Pontolillo went along with a plan by a handful of Central Catholic boosters, one of them a big-money donor, to move Enrico into the athletic director's chair full time and promote Roberts to head coach.
Pontolillo said earlier this month that he would not seek a renewal of his contract, which expires June 1.
Roberts was a freshman coach on Enrico's staff for two years before succeeding Enrico.
Enrico, who remained as the school's athletic director, compiled a 159-107-2 record during his 24 seasons as the Buttons' head coach. A 1972 Central Catholic graduate, Enrico guided the Buttons to the TAPPS Class 5A state title in 2001 and a TAPPS state championship in 1990.
Enrico will head search committee
Enrico, 57, said he has no interest in returning to coaching.
"I liked getting home early during football season and spending more time with my beautiful wife," Enrico said.
Enrico, who has worked full time at Central Catholic since 1977, will head the selection committee.
"As soon as we get the selection committee put together, we'll inform everyone of our timeline and guidelines," Ybarra said. "We're going to be transparent about this from every aspect."
Enrico declined to comment on the makeup of the committee, but a source said Frank Arnold, Dub Farris and Denny Smith, all former athletic directors of San Antonio school districts, have agreed to serve on the panel that will screen candidates for the Central Catholic job.
"We're going to try to get somebody hired pretty quick," Enrico said.
Roberts was an assistant coach at Smithson Valley for two seasons and at Reagan for one before going to Holy Spirit Catholic School, which offers classes for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. He coached at Holy Spirit for two years before moving to Central Catholic in 2009.
Roberts' first season as the Buttons' head coach was marred by a scouting flap that got defensive coordinator John Jennings suspended for five games and Roberts put on probation through the end of the 2012 football season.
The Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools District 2 Executive Committee handed out the sanctions after hearing testimony on a controversy that began when Jennings was spotted taking notes near the Antonian bench while scouting the Apaches during a game.