- UPDATED (3:37 p.m. Oct. 6): Comments from Lincoln-Way East spokeswoman.
- UPDATED (4:28 p.m. Oct. 6): With career highlights for Brian Papa.
Brian Papa has been fired as boys soccer head coach at Lincoln-Way East High School.
"The district wanted to go in a different direction in the East soccer program," said Charla Brautigam, assistant director of community relations for Lincoln-Way High School District 210.
However, Brautigam said the decision to let go of Papa midseason had to do with the team and performance.
"(School officials) were trying to give the kids an opportunity to succeed, and they've been struggling," she said. The Griffins currently have a losing season.
The decision to fire Papa involved L-W East Principal Scott Tingley, athletics director Dave Brost and district central office administration, Brautigam added.
Assistant coach Ryan Decker will continue the rest of the season as interim head coach. The team plays at Sandburg High School on Thursday.
Papa met with players on the boys soccer team recently and told them he was taking a personal leave from coaching, Brautigam said.
Along with coaching boys soccer, Papa also was the girls soccer coach and a physical education teacher at East. Brautigam said Papa will continue teaching, and any decision on his role as the girls coach will wait until the district begins to focus on spring sports.
Papa has led L-W to two second-place finishes--2000-01 (26-1) and 1999-00 (26-3)--in the Class AA boys state soccer tournament. He coached an undefeated Sandburg team to a Class AA boys state tile in 1993-94. Under Papa, the L-W girls soccer team twice finished second in the state tournament in 1998-99 and 1999-00.