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Portage parts ways with head football coach

Portage parts ways with head football coach

Portage/Lowell boys football

Then-Portage head coach Darren Rodriguez during the team's game against Lowell on Friday, Aug. 30 at Portage.

Portage football coach Darren Rodriguez will not return for the 2020 season, athletic director Fred Joseph confirmed to The Times on Tuesday.

Portage went 1-9 this fall and didn’t win a Duneland Athletic Conference game. Rodriguez had a 16-25 record in four seasons after coming over from Culver in 2016.

Joseph declined to elaborate on reasoning for Rodriguez’s dismissal or when Portage made the final decision. He said the search for Rodriguez’s successor will start this week.

“We just want to find the right fit as soon as possible, and we want to wish Darren the best of luck going forward,” Joseph said.

Senior quarterback Zack Warchus said he found out Tuesday via social media that Rodriguez won't return and that most of the coaching staff found out the same way.

Warchus spoke with Rodriguez on Tuesday to thank him for everything Rodriguez did for him on and off the field over four years. Warchus said Rodriguez helped him through a difficult time in his personal life during his junior season and that Rodriguez always supported him.

"He's a great guy, a great coach," Warchus told The Times. "He's definitely hurt by it. I think all of us are."

Rodriguez has a career 53-73 record over stops at Portage, Culver and West Central. He led West Central to a 10-win season in 2012 and went 6-4 in his first year at Portage, 2016.

The Indians, however, finished with losing records each of the last three years. Portage has just four winning seasons since 2005.

Rodriguez didn’t return a text message from The Times. 

Gallery: The Times' best fall prep sports photos


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Porter County Sports Reporter

Robbie Weinstein covers Porter County prep sports and Valparaiso University athletics for The Times. You can find the Vanderbilt University and Northwestern University grad posted up on the nearest field of play or in front of the TV.

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