CHESHIRE — Hearing that Cheshire football coach Don Drust’s job might be in jeopardy at a Monday-morning meeting, a group of students and parents descended on the public schools office.
Around 100 people — many of them current or former players for either Drust or his wife, Cheshire softball coach Kristine Botto-Drust — assembled in the parking lot of Humiston School to support him before and after his meeting with town school administration.
At issue, according to sources, is a clerical issue involving coaching paperwork believed to be Drust’s coaching certification that has since been resolved.
There was no final word on Drust’s status on Monday.
“At this point it would be inappropriate to give any public comment regarding a possible decision to terminate my contract as the head football coach,” Drust said in a text message to Hearst Connecticut Media. “I have always conducted our program with integrity, holding the safety and well being of our players as a paramount concern. I truly appreciate the community support … and my Ram Family.”
Drust’s state coaching certification is active and good through March 2024, according to the state’s database. Coaches are required to update their certification every five years.
Coaching certification covers issues like concussion and injury management, legal and safety aspects of coaching and sports psychology, according to the Connecticut Coaching Education Program.
The superintendent’s office declined to comment, calling it a personnel matter, as did Cheshire athletic director Steve Trifone.
Graduating senior quarterback Jason Shumilla said word had filtered out to the players over the past few days, and the rally in the parking lot reflected the support that Cheshire’s teams have for each other.
“We don’t really know the exact details of it, but we just know there was something going on and we wanted to show our support for him,” Shumilla said as the crowd dispersed. “We got the message out.
“He’s been a tremendous mentor for me the past four years,” added Shumilla, who’ll play at Western New England next year. “He’s been one of the driving factors in making me who I am. He’s a great football coach, but he’s an even better guy. Bigger than the game, he’s all about teaching us life lessons.”
Drust has coached eight years at Cheshire to a 45-38 record. The Rams went 8-3 in 2019, breaking a decade-long playoff drought and earning a spot in the Class LL quarterfinals, where they lost to Simsbury.
Dan Nowak contributed to this report.