The New Haven Board of Education’s decision Monday night to close the Cortlandt V.R. Creed magnet school will have a broad impact, not just on the school’s athletes who will be looking for new homes come the 2018 fall season, but also on a majority of greater New Haven’s leagues and schools.
Creed participated in 11 CIAC sanctioned boys and girls sports. Six were the seasonal track teams, the other five included boys and girls basketball, girls volleyball, baseball and football. All of those athletes must now find new schools for which to participate.
Understanding a decision would be imminent, Eric Patchkofsky, New Haven Public School’s citywide athletic director said he had been in discussions with the CIAC prior to Monday night’s decision.
Patchkofsky said the details still needed to be worked out, but the athletes should be able to transfer to Hillhouse or Wilbur Cross without being forced to sit games under the CIAC’s transfer rules.
“The CIAC has been very cooperative,” Patchkofsky said.
With the exception of the football team, which played in the SCC, Creed’s athletic programs competed in the Shoreline Conference. Patchkofsky said he would be send a letter to the Shoreline Conference principals about Creed closing.
He also said coaches at Creed will be able to get other jobs in the district based on availability.
Meanwhile, the loss of the football program means the SCC will contract from 22 teams to 21, leaving seven of teams with a bye dates, Lyman Hall, Guilford, North Haven, Sheehan, Hillhouse, East Haven and Branford, and an addition two SWC teams from the SCC’s crossover arrangement, Barlow and Notre Dame-Fairfield
“Erik has been keeping us in the loop, which was the most important thing,” Carbone said.
“But now we’re going to have to find places for our football teams to play, two of which aren’t in our league. That was my main concern. We were kind of hoping (Creed) would stay for one more year to get through this (SCC-SWC-ECC) crossover schedule.”
Carbone said it might take some juggling or other kinds of creative scheduling among all the member schools, not just those directly affected, to find the best solution. He said football chairman Craig Semple, the athletic director at Hand, will be looking at all possibilities.
“We might have to change weeks, opponents,” Carbone said. “Some schools expressed an interest in playing each other twice. One of biggest concerns is North Haven, which is Tier 1 and losing a crossover game, now what do we give them? That’s where we are right now.
“We’ve got to get going. We can’t wait any longer.”
This is the first time the SCC has lost a school due to closure. Derby left the league in 2009 to join the NVL.
“We’ve been pretty good,” Carbone said. “The only other time where we came close to a team not being able to play when East Haven football had numbers issues a while back, but they were eventually able to play. A drop is unprecedented.”
Creed, which was known as the Hyde Leadership school until two years ago, began and ended its athletics history like a supernova — explosive from the start only to fade into oblivion of a closure.
It won 14 CIAC state championships (all in Class S) within the first 15 years of existence. Those titles include two boys basketball championships (2003 and 2010), four football championships (2000, 2004, 2005 and 2009) and eight track and field championships.
Hyde won the CIAC state open boys outdoor track title in 2005 and 2006 and the indoor track state open in 2005.
The football program — which counts All-Staters Will Collins, Richard Kittrell and Willie Harriott as alumni — has been a co-op with Career and Whitney Tech since 2015, when current head coach Brandon McCormick took over for Melvin Wells. The co-op team moved to the SCC from the Pequot Conference in 2016 and Carbone said Patchkofsky was trying to help save expenses by bringing all of the sports programs into the SCC as full members.
“There’s been talk about (Creed) closing the past few years,” Patchkofsky said. “We were hopeful that we could come up with a solution to keep the school and its programs, but it was basically out of the Boards’ and district’s hands. Financially, it couldnt be sustained in this financial climate.”
–Joe Morelli contributed to this report