MIDDLETOWN >> Scott Ahlers is out, Sal Morello is in.
Middletown High School Director of Athletics announced Wednesday that the contract of head softball coach Scott Ahlers was not renewed and that Sal Morello, the MHS football coach and a physical education teacher at MHS, has been appointed softball coach at the school.
Relative to Ahlers, De Jesus said in a press release that “there wasn’t a resignation, but since the MFT [Middletown Federation of Teachers] contract [with the Board of Education] was renewed this summer, we had the opportunity to post all positions.”
Morello said he had to reapply for his football post as, according to De Jesus, did all other coaches.
In Middletown, coaches and advisers are appointed — unless other circumstances warrant change — for the duration of the negotiated contract between the teachers and the board. The old contract expired, thus the athletic director had an opportunity to post all positions.
By hiring Morello, Ahlers was, in effect, terminated.
Ahlers, who is not a teacher, had a successful run as head coach in that his team qualified for the state tournament just about every season. His 2016 club was one of his best, going 14-6 in the competitive Central Connecticut Conference South. The Blue Dragons won two Class LL tournament games before they were eliminated in the quarterfinal round by eventual Class LL champion Cheshire. Middletown finished with a 16-7 record.
“We had a competitive pool of candidates who applied for the softball position and we chose the most qualified individual and are very excited for our program,” De Jesus said. “Coach Morello has experience with coaching high school boys and girls and has an innate ability to communicate and build relationships with his student athletes, their families and the community.
“He is a perfect fit for what we are trying to accomplish as a softball program.”
In addition to being a successful football coach at both Cromwell and now Middletown High — Morello’s teams have gone to the Class L playoffs four consecutive years — he remains the longtime assistant girls basketball coach to Kelly Maher at Cromwell High’s state championship level program.
“I’m excited and looking forward to coaching the softball team,” Morello said. “We have a very good core of kids and I want to build a solid Class LL program, and build it from the elementary schools, through middle school to the high school.”