Wednesday Journal has learned the coach the school is referring to in its statement is convicted sex offender Frank Battaglia. He recently was taken off the staff of Lake Park High School’s football team after the school found out he pleaded guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse in 1992. This occurred at Driscoll High School where Nudo was the head coach from 1989-1991. Battaglia was on Nudo’s staff as an assitant coach.
Lake Park is in the middle of investigating its football program after it failed to check the criminal background of Battaglia. In addition, the IHSA states, “Every person working with member IHSA high school student/athletes must be certified. this includes non-paid volunteers, part time, etc.” Under the provisions of IHSA By-law 2.070, section F, it is stated, “Persons who stop teaching and do not possess a valid/current Illinois PEL, are not eligible to coach in Illinois without coaching certification.”
Nudo reportedly brought Battaglia to multiple practices and games at the end of the 2016 season. Once the school found out of Battaglia’s situation with Lake Park and his connection to Nudo’s 2016 team, they went to Nudo and he agreed to step down.
In his career at Fenwick, Nudo went 102-42-1.
In their first game without Nudo, the Friars beat Walter Payton High School 21-17 in the first round of the IHSA 5A playoffs.
Clarification: Fenwick did not use Battaglia’s name in its statement to Wednesday Journal (Fenwick’s statement can be found on the previous update to this story).
Fenwick high school provided this statement to Wednesday Journal this afternoon:
“Traditionally, Fenwick High School does not comment on personnel matters. However, circumstances involving the termination of head football coach Gene Nudo’s tenure call for some clarity.
Fenwick has strict protocols in place that must be followed before anyone can serve as a coach or volunteer coach. These protocols require that any employee, teacher, coach or volunteer, who is involved with students in any capacity must undergo a background check and participate in Virtus training, among other things. Earlier this week, Fenwick received information that in 2016 Coach Nudo allowed someone whom he had coached with in the past to attend a couple of football practices and to assist Coach Nudo on the sidelines during some games at the end of the season. When this was confirmed by the school and was brought to Coach Nudo’s attention he acknowledged that he did not alert Fenwick that he was doing this and did not follow Fenwick’s important policies and procedures. At that time, Coach Nudo agreed to step down immediately.
Fenwick has no evidence of any wrongdoing by the person Coach Nudo brought in while he was at Fenwick nor any evidence of any other violation of Fenwick’s rules by Coach Nudo.
Fenwick thanks Coach Nudo for his years of service and many contributions to the school. Both Fenwick and Coach Nudo have the utmost confidence in the assistant football coaches to lead the team going forward.”
Nudo declined comment.
Gene Nudo is no longer the varsity football head coach at Fenwick High School. A spokesman for the school confirmed Friday afternoon that Nudo is no longer the football coach but declined to confirm whether Nudo stepped down or if the school terminated him.
In addition to being scrubbed from the football team’s web page, Nudo is also no longer listed as a member of the Fenwick faculty on the school’s website.
According to Fenwick High School’s website, defensive coordinator Titcus Pettigrew has been named interim head coach. The Friars are set to face Payton College Prep tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Lane Tech Stadium in Chicago for the first round of the IHSA Class 5A playoffs.