A popular Connecticut high school coach known for setting a good example and winning games says he was forced out of his position after a controversial, decade-old film he appeared in was emailed to his bosses.
Mike Hvizdo says that he loves his players at Weston High in Connecticut, and coaching. ”It’s not just about teaching these kids basketball. It’s about teaching them life lessons,” he told ABC News.
He says he was surprised when the film, which he had nearly forgot about, resurfaced in his life and cost him his position when it was sent to his bosses in February. The film in question is called “Forbidden Fruit,”and was directed and produced by Steve Moramarco, who went on to act in the hit sitcom “Everybody Hates Chris” and produce the 2006 feature “Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny.”
“It may not be the type of film everyone likes to watch but nothing illegal, pornographic whatsoever, and no nudity … and I was an actor,” he said.
But Weston Public Schools Superintendent Colleen Palmer disagrees.
“The film is extremely sexually explicit,” Palmer said. “It contains vulgarity and demeans certain types of individuals.”
After meeting with Hvizdo, the school says he agreed to resign. The principal sent a letter to parents saying he quit because of “personal reasons,” and that he “could not lead the program the way it needs to be led.”
But Hvizdo says he was forced out.
“I don’t make a lot of money,” he said. “I do it because I love it. They’re my sons, 30 sons.”
In the three weeks since Hvizdo stopped coaching, parents in the community have rallied around him.
“He was an actor in a film produced and written by an established writer, producer and actor who has gone on to be successful in that industry,” one parent said.
Kay Spencer, a parent of a student at Weston High School, said that Hvizdo was a positive influence for the teens.
“Coach Hvizdo’s been very involved with all of the kids in the community. We definitely believe that he is a good role model and a good person,” she said.
The school district now says it’s “continuing its review of the matter.” But this is little comfort for Hvizdo, whose team will play in the Connecticut state playoffs on Monday, most likely without him.
“I would love to be there on the sidelines coaching my kids,” he said.”That’s all I want.”