Coronavirus News: NY state football champs honored with 'Parade of the Rings'

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The New Rochelle High School football team officially capped a chaotic season with a "Parade of Rings" to honor the state champions Thursday.

Coaches and staff delivered championship rings to members of the the undefeated 2019 Division A Championship team.

The car caravan left the teacher's parking lot at New Rochelle High School just after noon and embarked on a trip to each of the players' homes, where they were handing off the cherished memory of the championship season.

Organizers said they hoped to help the athletes enjoy their accomplishments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The procession began with a stop at the home of team captain Calvin Jackson and continued until all the rings were distributed.

Social distancing rules were being observed, as students continue to grapple with new realities during the current pause on normal life.

Last year, longtime head coach Louis DiRienzo resigned after 28 years working in the New Rochelle City School District as a teacher and coach, pending an investigation.

The school board had re-assigned DiRienzo while it investigated him for an incident allegedly involving a student who is DiRienzo's relative and who was impaired in some way at school.

DiRienzo reportedly contacted that person's father and allowed them to leave the school rather than face discipline -- an apparent violation of school protocol.

The decision to take him off the sidelines with the playoffs approaching sparked walkouts and protests, even as news surfaced of a new decades-old allegation being investigated by police.

Yonkers police say a woman came forward alleging unlawful contact involving DiRienzo when she was a high school student and DiRienzo was a teacher in Yonkers.

Further details were not revealed.

New Rochelle went on to win its third state championship in program history when it defeated McQuaid Jesuit of Rochester 28-0 at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.

The district did not comment on DiRienzo's resignation other than to thank him for his years of dedicated service to the community and wish him well in all of his future endeavors.

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