Pomona football coach resigns, says school was shopping his job in the middle of his first season


Pomona High School head football coach John Brown resigned Friday after discovering the school, unbeknownst to Brown, was searching for his replacement as early as the middle of this season, his first as Pomona’s head coach. Brown said Pomona contacted Colony head coach Anthony Rice after the season and Diamond Ranch coach Roddy Layton mid-season about the Pomona head coaching job.

Pomona principal Roger Fasting, however, denied that the school contacted anybody about Brown’s job.

“None of that is true,” Fasting said. “His letter came as a surprise to us because he hadn’t talked to us about resigning. I’m not sure where he got his information or how he heard that story.”

Said Brown: “I’m telling you he’s lying. They interviewed another guy for my job in the middle of the season. They told me the only reason they’re doing this is because they want an on-campus coach. And that’s fine, but don’t go about it like this.”

Brown, who graduated from Pomona High in 1987 and was an assistant football coach at the school for eight years, said his relationship with the administration began to sour when he refused to grant athletic director Tom Sweeney and assistant principal Joe Biagioni’s request to join his coaching staff following Pomona’s first loss on Oct. 9.

“They said my staff is terrible and didn’t know what they were doing,” said Brown, who was an off-campus coach, meaning he didn’t teach at Pomona. “They said my staff was a bunch of yes men. The truth is (Sweeney and Biagioni) didn’t like me because I wasn’t a yes man.”

I reached Sweeney by phone Wednesday but he was busy and had Fasting call me Wednesday night.

Brown further explained that Sweeney and Biagioni proposed that he coach track in the spring, instead using the designated track practice time to conduct off-season football practice, something Brown wasn’t comfortable with and refused to do.

“I told them you’re not coaching with me and I’m not coaching track,” Brown said. “After that our relationship was never the same.”

It was then, Brown said, Pomona made the alleged contact with Rice, whose Colony team was in the process of making a run at its third CIF championship in four years.

“The whole district knew what was going on,” Brown said. “I was getting calls from all over the place from people hearing things.”

Brown led Pomona to a 6-4 record this season. A 7-2 loss to Covina cost the team its first playoff berth since 2003. A Pomona assistant coach from 1996-2004 (the last four years of which he was the defensive coordinator), Brown re-joined the Pomona staff in 2008 as the defensive coordinator.

Following an undefeated run through the Valle Vista League in 2003, Pomona went 2-8 in 2004 beginning a four year stretch in which it won a combined 10 games until going 6-4 in 2008.

John Brown’s Letter of Resignation:

Dear Pomona High School and Pomona Unified School District Human Resources,

This is my letter of resignation as Head Varsity Football Coach at Pomona High School. At this time I am very dissatisfied in the relationship with the athletic department and the administration at Pomona. It was brought to my attention by several of my student-athletes that before the winter break the administration and athletic department began a new search for a head varsity football coach. I followed up with this information and contacted the candidate you selected and found it to be true. He was asked about his interest in the head varsity football coaching position and then offered the position. All the time while I am the Head Varsity Football Coach.

As Pomona High School alumni and eight year employee of the Pomona Unified School District, the embarrassment of this is tremendous with my peers and in the community. I was selected to be the 2009-2010 head varsity football coach with the confidence and partnership of the athletic department and administration at Pomona based on my coaching resume. I have since increased community support for Pomona athletics and Pomona Football during my tenure. The Red Devil Football program completed the football season with a 6 win season in my inaugural year. Along with a great season, two student-athletes received football scholarships to University of Texas El Paso and Eastern Michigan University.

I was at no time under any impression that my position as Head Football Coach was in jeopardy. I was very excited to meet with my administration in November at the end of the football season to discuss the interest of the Assistant Principal and Athletic Director wanting to join my staff in the 2010-2011 as Offensive Coordinator and Offensive Line coach.

So it is with great sadness that today January 8, 2010, I, Johnny R. Brown, step down as Head Varsity Football Coach at Pomona High School. I wish you all the success with your athletics.

Yours Truly,

Johnny Brown

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    WOW! it is sad to see this happen to a good man,person & human being someone who cared about the (KIDS) not the politics to see this type of treatment shows me pomona still has a long way to go.as a class of 81 grad, it was great to see some well known people in the community running the program,the BROWN Family has been involved in the city of POMONA for decades good luck with all your future endevers JB. no matter what happens from this point on, it will still be a BIG LOST to the kids in P-TOWN.I do know of coach Rice & his staff they are good people as well, I just wish it could have been handled with more clas.

  • Former Coach

    I would like to express my sincere regret to Johnny for how this situation was handled. I coached Johnny when he played football at Pomona High School and although, not the most talented of players, he worked very hard to become a player that made a difference on the field. Johnny, take this experience and grow from it, your dedication to the players you coach should not be punished. Stay in coaching and continue to do your life`s work in teaching these kids integrity, respect, and pride in what you do. Good luck in the future, keep your head up. As for the Administration at Pomona High, please wake up an smell the back handed work you our doing. High School sports has become a business and the only ones who suffer our the kids. Do yourself a favor and go back to when you became educators and vowed to hold yourself to highest esteem for the betterment of the kids. I also coached Anthony Rice while he was in High School and while he has done a great job at Colony. I will be contacting him regarding this situation and advising him to take this job because of the kids and the community and not because of the backhanded administration at Pomona. I will let him know that he has come to far to lose the integrity earned as an educator and coach to lay in bed with this type of adminstration. Good luck to Johnny and Anthony in their future endeavors.

    A former coach of theirs

  • Is that Coach Perry’s words?

    That sounds like coach perry!If so,another example of all the good work he put in the community.Coach you will be missed!!!!!!GOD-BLESS your family. P-TOWN 4 life.