Wednesday, June 19, 2013
OAKLAND - Messalonskee High head football coach Wes Littlefield resigned after an incident Wednesday at practice.
In this Aug. 16, 2010, photo, Messalonskee High School football players begin the first day of practice as then-head coach Wes Littlefield conducts drills.
Morning Sentinel photo by Jim Evans
The school district's investigation into the incident -- details have not been made public -- is complete, Regional School Unit 18 Superintendent Gary Smith said Friday.
Littlefield said Friday it was "a little incident with a kid that was blown out of proportion."
He said he resigned at 3 p.m. Thursday and wouldn't comment further. He owns Littlefield's Gym in Oakland, where many football players are members. He doesn't hold a teaching position in the school district.
Oakland Police Capt. Rick Stubbert said Thursday police are investigating an incident at the high school but wouldn't confirm it had anything to do with Littlefield.
Friday, he said he wasn't sure how long the investigation will take but "we're going to do a thorough investigation."
"We want to be fair to everybody involved," Stubbert said.
Thursday, school officials said Littlefield was suspended with pay pending an investigation. Smith predicted it would be done within days, if not hours.
Smith on Friday confirmed that the school got an official resignation letter from Littlefield.
Smith wouldn't discuss the details of what led to the suspension and resignation.
"Our number one priority is the safety and wellness of our students," he said. "Any time there are allegations that impact that, we take them seriously, investigate them promptly and take action."
Littlefield was on a yearly contract for the length of the football season, Smith said. RSU 18 includes Oakland, Belgrade, China, Rome and Sidney.
"We'll be working to find an interim head coach for the rest of the season, which isn't going to be easy," Smith said.
The remaining coaching staff -- including offensive coach Rob Rodrigue and defensive coach Chapin LaBelle -- guided the team Friday night in a 41-0 victory at Oxford Hills.
Keenan Knox, a former football player and 2011 graduate of Messalonskee, called practices intense.
"(Littlefield) liked to keep the tempo in practice pretty high," Knox said Friday.
Knox said he never saw Littlefield grab or strike a player.
"He's just an intense guy. I think his personality made us better," Knox said. "It's a shame to lose a great coach like Coach Littlefield. I think it's a big loss for the program."
Littlefield had a 43--40 record as the Eagles' head coach, a position he held since 2003.