An Oregon high school football coach was dismissed midseason because of a pattern of bullying behavior, per documents obtained by the Malheur Enterprise newspaper.
Tony Cade, who was hired in June to be the head football coach at Ontario High School and fired some three months later. While the reasons for his dismissal were not immediately disclosed, it now appears that Cade was subject to an investigation that found he had treated some of his players as victims of bullying by the coach.
While Cade acknowledged he had resigned on September 25, the new documents obtained by the Enterprise indicate that his dismissal was sparked by a parent who objected to her son’s treatment at a game during the season.
Cade disputed the account by the player’s mother — he claimed he benched the player (a starting tight end) after the player had aimed multiple derogatory comments at the coach) — but was still aggressive toward his players at a practice at a later date and also exhibited other behaviors that could charitably be considered retrograde, as detailed by the Enterprise.
The document said that Cade confirmed a practice of calling players “numnuts,” “jackwagons” and “clowns” without understanding that players felt this was “demeaning or embarrassing.”
Cade defended his actions by saying “it’s just football” and that he had never been told in the course of his career not to call players by those names, according to the letter.
The coach also reportedly bristled when his authority was questioned on a long road trip.
For his part, Cade insists that he didn’t want to resign, but felt he had no other choice.
“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.”