Hired two years ago and a global pandemic, Steve Bainer was thrilled at the prospect of becoming the next head football coach at Derby High School. Even the challenge of being the state’s smallest, uncooperative program, Bainer believed he could make Derby a competitive football program again.
But he barely got the chance. Within weeks of his hiring in January 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic struck. The CIAC eventually canceled the 2020 season and when football returned last year, Derby forfeited the second half of the season due to an insufficient number of players.