From the rarely heard from How-The-Heck-Did-We-Miss-This???-Department, Bunnell has appointed assistant Sean Mignone to take over the football program, according to an April 10 report in the Stratford Star. (Yea, three weeks ago. Go figure. We’re stunned.)
Mignone, a social teacher at the school for nine years, was part of former coach Doug Cotto’s staff and coached the Bulldogs in the second half of the season while Cotto was suspended and then fired at midseason for alleged inappropriate comments made to one of his players.
Bunnell finished the season 4-1 under Mignone, including an impressive, 53-34 victory over Bethel and an 18-7 victory over Stratford on Thanksgiving.
A graduate of Notre Dame-Fairfield where he played for current Ridgefield coach Kevin Callahan, Mignone played baseball at Western Connecticut State. He coached at Fairfield Warde with Andy Buschsbaum in 2004, but got out of coaching when Buchsbaum left for New Fairfield in 2005.
Mignone joined Cotto’s staff in 2013.
“Never in my wildest dreams was I looking to be a head coach,” he told the Stratford Star’s Bill Bloxsom. “But coaching those five games and getting to deal with the players on a different level, I knew if there ever was a time that it was now.”
Mignone was approved despite being a part of Cotto’s staff. Several sources suggested that elements of the Stratford Board of Education held off on approving Mignone because they were looking for a full regime change.
In the end, longtime and soon-to-be retired Bunnell athletic director Dave Johnson believed Bunnell had its man. “Maintaining the continuity and consistency of the staff and program was a very important part of the process,” Johnson told Connecticut Post’s Doug Bonjour on April 28.
Bunnell, which was one of the most dominant powers in the SWC during the last decade, has fallen back into the league’s middle-tier. Since winning back-to-back state championships under Craig Bruno in 2006 and 2007, the Bulldogs have not returned to the state playoffs.
Despite last year’s coaching turmoil, Bunnell finished last year 6-5, its first winning season since 2011.
- Amity — Bert Mozelous resigned | Ted Czepiga hired
- Bridgeport Central – Mike Farrell hired to replace Brian Gordon.
- Bristol Eastern – Mike Achrangelo resigned after season | Paul Phillippon rumored to return (unconfirmed)
- Bunnell – Doug Cotto fired at midseason | Interim coach Sean Mignone hired
- Canton – Paul Phillippon resigned after three seasons, citing low numbers
- Coginchaug – John Bozzi resigns | Nick DeAngelo hired
- East Haven – Anthony Lucibello resigned at midseason | Melvin Wells hired
- E.O. Smith — Jody Minotti resigned
- Fairfield Prep – Tom Shea resigns, defensive coordinator Keith Hellstern hired
- Fitch – Jordan Panucci not renewed after season | Mike Ellis hired from Waterford
- Greenwich — Rich Albonizio pressured to resign after 18 years | NC OC John Marinelli hired
- Guilford – Tom Unger resigned | Morgan coach Mike Eagle hired
- Hyde – Melvin Wells resigns to take job at East Haven | Brandon McCormick hired
- Lyman Hall – Rob Marone fired at midseason | Interim Aiden Lynch hired
- Morgan – Mike Eagle hired at Guilford |
- Notre Dame-Fairfield – Ted Boynton resigned after two seasons | Chris Sadler hired
- Northwest Catholic – Mike Tyler retired at end of season | Brett Quinion hired
- Old Saybrook / Westbrook – Vacancy | Mike Marone hired
- Platt Tech — Jimmy Benjamin hired
- Simsbury — Jeff Osborne resigned | Dave Masters hired
- Waterford – Mike Ellis resigned after season | Assistant John Strecker hired
- Wilby – Geno Capuano resigned Jan 3 | Peter Flammia hired