Jaylen Coleman, projected to be one of the top linebackers in the WPIAL this season, has been kicked off Gateway High School's football team.
Gateway coach Terry Smith said Coleman was removed from the team "for violation of team rules." Smith would not elaborate, but said the decision was made Monday morning, when high school teams around the state had their first official practice.
When asked if there was a chance Coleman could return to the team at some point this season, Smith simply said, "No."
In an interview Sunday, Coleman talked about how excited he was about playing for Gateway after transferring from Peabody in the spring.
Coleman and his mother moved to Monroeville, which is part of the Gateway district. Coleman also talked about how he wanted to break Dorian Bell's single-season school record for tackles.
Coleman could not be reached for comment.
Coleman (6 feet, 230 pounds) has scholarship offers from Pitt, West Virginia and Cincinnati, among others. Pitt was No. 1 on his list, but Coleman said Sunday he now favors Cincinnati after visiting the school recently.
When it came time for Trinity's first practice at 9:15 a.m. Monday, not one player was in uniform.
They were all sitting in the middle of the field, staging a "sit-in" to protest cutbacks in the coaching staff.
The coaching cuts were for financial reasons, according to the Trinity school board. The football team has only four paid varsity coaches this year, including head coach Ed Dalton, who said he had no idea about the "sit-in" until shortly before 9.
Last year, Trinity had six coaches. Dalton also said he has only one paid eighth-grade coach and no ninth-grade coach this year.
"If the cuts were for budget reasons, once some other coaches resigned, why weren't those coaches who were cut brought back?" Dalton said.
Dalton said the "sit-in" lasted about a half hour. This act is the latest chapter in a struggle between Dalton and some school board members.
Over the past few years, he has been fired as football coach and re-hired. He also has been removed from his athletic director's position and forced to be a teacher.
"I've been in football camps since 1972 and I never saw anything like this," Dalton of the protest.
"When I came onto the field, I asked the kids if they had thought this through, and they said they did. They said, 'Coach, someone has to do something.' "
North Allegheny is the defending WPIAL and PIAA Class AAAA champion, and it looks as if the Tigers starting quarterback will be the son of a Pitt assistant coach.
Mack Leftwich moved into North Allegheny's district after his father, Spencer, was hired as a Pitt assistant under Todd Graham. Spencer Leftwich coached with Graham at Tulsa.