Player protests have led Maurice Belser to resign a mere seven weeks after his hire as head football coach and athletic director at Taylor County High School in Perry, Fla.
Since his days as a 1992 national champion offensive lineman at the University of Alabama, success has alluded Belser, who went 7-13, 1-8 and 8-32 during his first three stints as a high school head coach in Alabama and Florida. The stop previous to his arrival at Taylor County, a 2016 hire by Lely High School in Naples, Fla., lasted one season before he quit the following spring.
His latest departure followed an emergency team meeting Sunday night. “He said, ‘You want me to leave? If you want me to leave, I’m gone,’ ” Amy Kallschmidt-Sadler, described as the team's sideline photographer and longtime de facto mom, told the Tallahassee Democrat. “It was not good.”
Belser quit after players publicly protested his coaching methodology and treatment of players over summer workouts and in the first weeks of organized practice. Practices held before and after school had players spending 12 hours per day on campus. Three seniors were dismissed from the team during training camp after missing practice for work. The team's placekicker was subsequently booted in front of the rest of the team. Team members discussed boycotting the season opener.
"We went to him as players and as a team before it even got to this," star player Robert Glanton said, as reported by Sports Illustrated. "We addressed him by ourselves and he still didn't respect where we were coming from and wasn't going to change what he was doing. If we'd have continued with how things were going, there would have been even more problems. We felt we had to do something."
But Belser beat them to the punch, resigning ahead of this week's preseason game.
"It's been tough on the entire district," school superintendent Danny Glover, who will serve as interim head coach, told WTXL in Tallahassee. "The timing is not good. But, these kids are resilient, they rally, they want to play football. I know this morning at workouts, they had 55, the most they had all year. So, that's a good sign for us moving in to today."