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RCTC suggests academic issues were to blame for football coach's firing

RCTC suggests academic issues were to blame for football coach's firing

Rochester Community and Technical College is exactly that — a community college with a mission to "provide accessible, affordable, quality learning opportunities to serve a diverse and growing community."

The school's athletic program competes in Division III of the National Junior College Athletic Association. Its athletes do not receive scholarships. And unlike, let's say a national sports powerhouse competing on ESPN every other night, the words "students first" actually mean something.


So when the school announced on Friday that it had fired head football coach Bill Quistorff after three winning seasons, including an 11-1 record and a berth to the junior college national championship game in 2015, it was apparent the decision had nothing to do with winning games.

"I'm just as shocked as everybody else is," Quistorff said an interview with KAAL's Jeanna Radz. "I have no idea what would have warranted this decision. You know, I'm kind of wondering why myself."

When asked whether he was given any reasoning for the decision, Quistorff said the administration simply told him "this was part of the realignment at RCTC."

Coming off some of the most successful seasons in school history, the Yellowjackets were poised to have another strong season in 2016. No more than a couple weeks ago, Quistorff celebrated the signing of one of his "best recruitment classes" with "high-level athletes from around the country."

In an email to local media, a spokesperson for the college did not provide any specific reasoning for the termination but alluded to academic issues.

We have many temporary part-time employees and there is always movement aiming that group to fit the current and future needs of the college. 
RCTC supports our athletic programs, coaches, and athletes, but the role of athletics is much more than just playing a sport. As an institution of higher education, while we want our student athletes to succeed on the court and field, we strive for them to be even more successful in the classroom and in their lives outside RCTC.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, one person close to the situation told me Quistorff was "well liked" by players, but often maintained a casual relationship with them, leading to a lack of discipline off the field.

The firing of Quistorff comes on the heels of the school's decision to let go of Patric Simon, who served as interim athletic director for one year. Simon was one of a handful of employees hired by former president Leslie McClellon who have either resigned or had their contracts terminated in the past two months. 

Interim president Joyce Helens took over the job earlier this year from McLellon, who resigned on Jan. 8 following months of controversy over her leadership style and spending practices.


Quistorff began coaching at RCTC in 2010, serving as a defensive assistant until being named head coach in 2013. He also played linebacker for the Yellowjackets in his college years and served as as a team captain in 2006.

It's unclear whether the team's assistant coaches will retain their jobs or whether Quistorff's firing will impact this year's recruiting class. It's not at all uncommon for high school athletes to change their minds after a coach has been let go from an athletic program.

"It's really not, to me, about losing the position," Quistorff said in his interview with KAAL. "To me, it more feels like I'm losing my family; I'm losing my brothers; and losing something that I revolve my life around."

Note: In response to feedback from the community, the headline has been altered since this article's original publication. All the text remains the same.


About Sean Baker: Sean is the founder and editor of the Med City Beat. Under his direction, the site has transitioned from a small news blog to one of the most widely-read publications in the city. Prior to launching the site in 2014, Sean spent about two years producing television news in Green Bay and Rochester. His office is above a brewery, so please excuse any typos. Twitter.

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