A high school football coach in Oregon has been dismissed after allegations emerged that he was bullying his players.
Tony Cade was hired back in June to be the head football coach at Ontario High School but announced his resignation just three months later on September 25. At the time, Cade gave no reason for leaving, and he was allowed to keep his job as a social studies teacher in the high school.
Ontario High School has now released a five-page letter which outlines an investigation into Cade’s behavior. The letter describes bullying behavior by Cade as the reason the school forced him to submit his resignation.
According to the letter, the investigation into Cade’s behavior was sparked by complaints issued to the school by a player’s mother, which Cade disputes.
The letter, published in its entirety by the Malheur Enterprise said that Cade had made it common practice to refer to his players as “numnuts,” “jackwagons” and “clowns.”
Cade defended his actions, saying that “it’s just football” and noted that he had never been told in the course of his career to refrain from calling players by those names. Cade insists that he didn’t want to resign but felt he had to.
“My resignation wasn’t the fact I wanted to leave these kids high and dry. I was 1,000 percent into this. I brought in change. I think the culture needed to be changed because it was a culture of disrespect and laziness. For some that worked, for others it didn’t,” Cade told the Enterprise.
“I am always professional. I am honest with kids. It is corrective feedback. Some coaches put their arms around your shoulders and I probably scream and yell but at the end of practice I will put my arm around their shoulders. We leave it between the lines.”
“The final determining factor for your dismissal actually rested on your inability to control your emotions with our players when you retaliated against them with your comments about speaking with administration,” the letter said.
"The district feels it took appropriate measures in resolving these issues," according to Eric Norton, school district personnel director.