Lance Fauria

Lance Fauria (File Photo / May 22, 2014)

Bellarmine-Jefferson High is searching for a new athletic director and head football coach, said school principal Michael Stumph Thursday, ending the tenure of Lance Fauria, who held both positions for a year.

Stumph said he did not want elaborate on the reason why Fauria's contract was not renewed for the 2014-15 school year, adding the Guards football team will not field a varsity team, but rather a junior varsity squad.

"It is a personnel matter and I can't get into any specifics," he said. "But I can tell you that we have flown the job and we are actively looking for a new athletic director and football coach.

"We are continuing to try and build the athletic programs at Bell-Jeff and we are looking for individuals who will help us accomplish that."

Fauria, who has a wealth of experience as a football coach and former collegiate player, said he was unsure of the reason behind him not returning.

"I'm not going to speculate, because I don't know," Fauria said. "I don't know the reason why and I'm not going to get into that.

"All I can say is that Bell-Jeff has a good administrative team, it has great parental support, it has great kids and I think the school is going to go in a forward direction to increase enrollment and be the Bell-Jeff that it used to be. I only hope for the best for them."

Stumph also said he appreciated Fauria's commitment to the school and what he did for Bell-Jeff sports programs.

"He was in a tough position football-wise," Stumph said. "He did the best with what he had. I know there were some other things in Lance's life and he was dealing with some other things, but we do appreciate what he did for us."

Fauria was the head coach for a Guards football program that experienced its share of problems during the 2013 season. After being plagued by low numbers and injuries that severely depleted the Guards in all of their games, Bell-Jeff canceled its season in mid-October, forfeiting its remaining three games.

The Guards finished the year at 0-7 with four forfeit losses and three on the field. In all three of the games Bell-Jeff did play, the Guards suffered injuries that dwindled an already slim squad. All three games were played with a running clock in the second half.

The early end of the 2013 season came just one year removed from Bell-Jeff reaching the playoffs. In 2012, Bell-Jeff had a 4-7 record (2-2 in Santa Fe League). The Guards qualified for the CIF Southern Section Division Northeast playoffs, losing to No. 2 Rio Hondo Prep, 57-6.

It was the first time the Guards qualified for the postseason in three years.

After the problems of last year with the football program, Stumph said the Guards will not field a varsity team for the 2014 season, but will instead compete on the junior varsity level.

"We feel that is the best way to go to try and build up the program," Stumph said. "We want to have football at Bell-Jeff and we believe we have the players who want to play the sport at the school. We are hoping that we can get the program headed into the right direction."

jeff.tully@latimes.com

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