Leo Sybertz’s trademark green mesh practice jersey and fishing cap will once again be missing from the sidelines at West Roxbury football games this fall.
The coach who retired after the 2007 season only to return for the 2010 and 2011 seasons was replaced by his assistant coach, Derek Wright, last week. The 74-year-old coach said headmaster Rudolph Weekes wanted a coach who also works in the school.
“I retired from teaching five or six years ago,” Sybertz said during a telephone interview on Wednesday afternoon. “I’m disappointed but he’s the one who makes the choices so it's entirely up to him. I have no qualms against him.”
Wright, 44, who has been a police officer at the school for the last four years, played at Dorchester High and spent two seasons at Boston College. He served as Westie's assistant the last two seasons and said he would’ve liked to have one more year under Sybertz before taking his first head coaching position.
"I’m up for the challenge to be honest with you," he said. "It came a year earlier than I thought, but I’m up for the challenge. I already started preparations for the upcoming season."
Sybertz coached West Roxbury from 1976 to 2007, won 202 games, including five Super Bowls and 13 league championships. He made 10 playoff appearances and sent two players to the NFL.
Sybertz said he never missed more than a few practices during his tenure.
“I honestly know from the bottom of my heart and from the top of my head to my toes, I know every single practice and every single game I always gave it all I had,” Sybertz said. “And that’s what I’m proudest of. You could say I’m a good coach or anything in between but that makes no difference to me.”
Brian Collins took over West Robxury’s program after Sybertz retired in 2007 but stepped down two years later because his wife had a child. That’s when Sybertz was called back to the sidelines to plug the hole.
Sybertz served one season as an assistant at Boston Latin and one season as an assistant at Sharon High before leading West Roxbury to a combined 9-11 record the last two seasons.
“I’m perfectly happy the way things are,” Sybertz said. “I have no axe to grind with anybody, that’s unhealthy to be that way. I’m fine with everything that’s going on. Life is good. I’m a lucky person. I wouldn’t be surprised if I found a coaching job between now and then. There could very well be something out there.
“I still have plenty of stuff left. I’m in good shape. I work out every day; I’m living the good life.”
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