Field hockey coach resigns without warning

Field hockey players were not met by varsity and junior varsity Field Hockey Coach Gino Grajeda on Aug. 7 at the start of his Gold Medal Field Hockey Camp, but rather by Head of Upper School Harry Salamandra, wielding a letter written by Grajeda announcing his sudden resignation.

The news of his resignation came to team members only weeks before the preseason started and just before the varsity team’s trip to Orlando for the KSA tournament from Aug. 30 to Sept. 3. 

Freshman coach and assistant coach to the varsity and JV teams Erin Creznic took over Grajeda’s coaching duties and corresponded with Grajeda via e-mail about the tournament. 

“We are very pleased to have Erin Creznic to take over the program,” Athletic Director Darlene Bible said.

“She is very competent, and the girls adore her.”

In the letter, Grajeda explains he will be pursuing another job opportunity.  Grajeda’s new position is with Amateur Athletic Union in Volleyball, according to Head of Athletics Audrius Barzdukas.

Grajeda acted as Director of the National AAU Volleyball Executive Committee and Chair of the AAU Beach Volleyball Committee. Creznic said that Grajeda’s commitment to beach volleyball has almost become a second full-time job for him. 

His duties included promoting finanacial matters, representation and setting up the games.

Grajeda met with Salamandra two hours before his resignation was first announced. He did not coach the Gold Medal program that week and has not contacted the JV or varsity teams as a whole, other than through his letter which was mailed home to all field hockey team members.

“It was difficult for him,” Salamandra said. “This whole thing has been hard for him because he was so instrumental to building the program.”

Grajeda has communicated to the captains of the varsity team that he will try to continue coaching club field hockey.

While his players were aware of his responsibilities to volleyball, none were given any clue he would be leaving before his letter of resignation was read.

“No one knew he would be leaving,” varsity team member Molly Goodman ’09 said.
It was a bit of a shock, but Erin [Creznic] was with us last year so she really knows our team.” Barzdukas, who found out Grajeda was to resign in July, said Creznic is a perfect fit for the team.

“With 150 coaches, we’re kind of used to this,” Barzdukas said.  “Turnover is only natural.”

“We have an excellent field hockey program.  Now we’ll just continue taking it to the next level.”

Grajeda could not be reached for comment.

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