A day before the football team takes to the field for its intrasquad game, Flora High School is looking for a head coach.
In a special session on Tuesday night, the Flora school board voted 4-3 to remove Skip Dillon from the position.
Dillon, who had coached at Flora for 11 seasons, said the reason he was given for his firing was a lack of involvement with the Junior Football League.
But the veteran coach called that a smokescreen for the real reason.
“This stems back from last year when a school board member didn’t feel his son got a fair shake,” Dillon said. “He finally convinced three others to get on board with him.”
School officials had no comment Wednesday on the firing or who will take over for Dillon.
The firing leaves the program in an awkward position with the season opener a week away. Dillon had four assistants, most who have been in the system for at least seven years.
“This timing … you’re doing an injustice to the program and to the kids and to the other coaches who have to adjust to this. It’s not fair to them.
“They’re going to get caught with their pants down,” he said of school administrators.
Dillon said he was talked to last fall about spending more time with the JFL, a position he pointed out is voluntary and not school affiliated.
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He said he donated time, funds and equipment to the JFL, documenting all of it, but there was still a special board meeting called last week to address “concerns.”
Tuesday’s special board meeting was supposed to be a chance for Dillon to give his rebuttal to claims, but he was fired.
“What they put on paper and what the real issue is are two different things,” Dillon said.
He called it a case of school board members “micromanaging and overstepping their bounds.”
“I’ve been doing this 31 years, been a head coach 26, been in the playoffs 50 percent of those,” Dillon said. “I said, ‘What did I do wrong?’ ”
Dillon was 45-58 in his time at Flora. That includes three straight trips to the playoffs — from 2007-2009.
He started his coaching career in 1981 at Sesser-Valier. He moved to Beardstown in 1986, becoming the head coach in 1987. His final six Tigers teams made the playoffs.
Flora, a member of the Little Illini Conference, opens its season Friday, Aug. 24 at Bridgeport Red Hill.