Lamont Robinson's tenure as football coach at Washington Township High School's football coach lasted just 11 months.
In a stunning development, Robinson confirmed Tuesday night that he has stepped down after one season in charge of the Minutemen program.
In a text message, Robinson said, "This has been one of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make. I have made it in the hopes that the next coach will be able to give our young people and this proud program exactly what it needs and is able to lead them above and beyond new heights."
Robinson, 30, was named Washington Township's coach in January. His team went 2-8 this season, losing its final game by a 44-7 score to Williamstown on Thanksgiving.
In a statement, Washington Township athletic director Kevin Murphy said, "We have regretfully accepted his resignation and respect his decision to not return as the head coach of our football team."
Robinson, a former Salem star who played at the University of Oklahoma, was an assistant at Clayton, Salem and Millville before taking over as Washington Township's head coach.
In a lengthy text message, Robinson indicated that he and others had "different visions" on the direction of the school's football program.
"In life and in relationships even the best, most well meaning people have different visions, expectations and philosophies on the process that it takes to build something great," Robinson said. "The most important thing of it all to remember here is that we're talking about good people."
Robinson is a young, enthusiastic, high-energy coach whose passionate approach was seen as a positive by seniors such as Colin Meintel and Kenny Cockerill during preseason workouts.
"He has more energy than any of us," Meintel said during a scrimmage in late August at Winslow Township.
Said Cockerill on the same day: "He honestly set the energy level at every practice."
Before the start of the season, Murphy said he had "never seen a football team work harder" than the Minutemen were practicing under Robinson.
Robinson expressed his thanks to the Washington Township administration as well as the players, assistant coaches, parents and others connected to the program.
"I'm truly grateful for the opportunity that Washington Township High School provided me in leading their football team," Robinson said. "It was an honor and privilege to work with the student-athletes that were entrusted to me.
"There were many great experiences, lessons and much progress made in such a short time with a great group of young men. It saddens me to know that I will not continue on that journey but it does my heart well knowing that I have in fact made a difference and had a positive impact on those young people."
Robinson, who plans to remain history teacher at Washington Township, said he will "cherish" his time in charge of the football program.
"That is what I will remember and cherish most about my experience leading this football team; all the good players, asst. coaches, band members, cheerleaders, trainers, parents, fans, alumni, supporters, the youth program and it's players and last but far from least our administration who took a chance and gave me a shot with this opportunity," Robinson said. "I will forever cherish the relationships and experiences that this opportunity has provided and wish our young men and program the best going forward."
Robinson told his players during a meeting on Tuesday that he was no longer in charge of the Minutemen program.
Robinson was approved as Washington Township's coach by a 9-0 vote of the Board of Education in January.
"So excited," Robinson said at the time. "It's a big-time school, big-time program."
Robinson emerged as top candidate from an extensive search for a new coach of one of South Jersey's most prominent programs. He was believed to have been one of more than 30 applicants.
At the time of Robinson's hiring, Murphy said, "He's an inspiring coach who will proudly continue the tradition of Minutemen football."
Robinson's task was to revive the fortunes of a once-powerful program that had declined a bit since its glory years, with no playoff victories since 2011.
Robinson is the fifth South Jersey football coach to resign in the last week, following Tom Coen at Cherry Hill East, P.J. Mehigan at Cherokee, Clyde Folsom at West Deptford and Jack McConnell at Collingswood.