Mechanicburg Football Practice (copy)

Billy Furman led Mechanicsburg to a 3-7 after taking over a squad that went 0-10 the past two years. The head coaching position was opened up Tuesday to “internal” candidates, according to the website.

Sentinel file

The Mechanicsburg Area School District opened its head football coaching position up to candidates Tuesday, according to a post on the school district’s website.

Athletic director Seth Pehanich made The Sentinel aware of the move Wednesday in an email.

“At this time, there is no other information to share,” Pehanich said in the original email.

In a follow-up email Wednesday evening, he said: “We have made the decision to open our head football coach position. Because this is a personnel matter, we cannot comment any further. We look forward to filling this open position with an individual who maintains our school district’s high standards for our student athletes.”

Furman coached the football team to a 3-7 record this fall in his first year as head coach. He said he was asked to resign and refused. He said he will reapply for the position, but also said he felt he has “zero” chance of getting the job.

“I told them no, I’m not resigning, I’m not quitting on these kids,” he said.

“I was told that my standards and expectations for the football team did not align with the standards and expectations of the school,” Furman said.

A vocal coach who repeatedly said this season he wouldn’t settle for anything less than a championship, Furman said he felt he had connected with his players.

He said Wednesday he heard from multiple players who are upset that he is not likely to coach the team again.

“They brought me in because they needed a change,” said the former University of Miami assistant coach who also spent time at Temple as an assistant. “And when you’re trying to change things and people are stuck in their ways, you rub people the wrong way.”

Furman took over for former head coach Chris Hakel, a former Wildcats quarterback who oversaw consecutive 0-10 seasons as head coach before resigning at the end of the 2016 campaign.

Hakel served as an assistant with Camp Hill this fall. Furman was hired in March after a five-month search.

The Wildcats lost a game in overtime at Carlisle to start the season before beating Spring Grove and Northern on the road in emotional wins for the program to push the team to 2-1 early in the year.

They beat Hershey in Week 8 to pick up the program’s first Mid-Penn Keystone win since 2014.

But Furman was not present on the sidelines for the Week 9 game against Cedar Cliff in what Pehanich called a “personnel situation.” Furman returned to the sidelines in a loss to Red Land to close the season.

Furman said Wednesday that the reason for his absence in Week 9 was a suspension because he said he helped a player pay for homecoming.

“My intentions were to give that kid the best experience possible,” he said. “The other thing that bothers me is they wanted me to lie about it.”

In response to a follow-up text Pehanich said he had no comment.

Furman said he is unsure how much that suspension led to Mechanicsburg opening the position up to applicants. The job opening is posted on the district’s internal site.

The Sentinel discovered social media posts last week from current or former students expressing displeasure with Furman not being brought back. When reached last week about those posts, Furman said he had not been in contact with anyone at Mechanicsburg about his status.

“I haven’t talked to them all week,” Furman said Wednesday.

“I just feel bad for the kids, that’s all. I love those kids to death,” he said.

Furman, who said “this is nothing compared to [being let go at Miami],” said he plans to coach again somewhere, although he plans to reapply at Mechanicsburg and has heard support from people to do so.

“I wouldn’t change a thing that we did,” he said.

This is the second local coaching position to open in the past few weeks. Chad Weaver stepped down from Red Land to spend more time with his family.

<&rdpEm>This story has been updated from its original version to include comment from Billy Furman and a statement from Seth Pehanich.</&rdpEm>

Email Jake Adams at jadams@cumberlink.com or follow him on Twitter @jakeadams520

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Sports Editor

Sports editor at The Sentinel.

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