MCHS coaches: To the editor

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Editor’s note: MCHS coaches asked the Craig Daily Press to run the following content as an open letter to the community.

An open letter to the Moffat County School Board, school administrators, football parents, community members and football players:

As football coaches, we are deeply disappointed that actions were taken by certain individuals that have caused a crippling ripple effect in our community. Our highest priority as Moffat County High School coaches is to teach players to win the right way, support our community and give back when given the opportunity. Throughout the past 16 years, we have emphasized the importance of working hard to win but that in the final analysis, learning to be men of high character and strength of courage is our primary goal.

What allegedly transpired at the June football camp never will be understood fully but never can be excused. However, the consequences will be far reaching, and one result is that we will not be on the sidelines coaching this fall. This breaks our hearts, and we grieve the loss of the potential season that promised to be the beginning of a new era for our players as we move down to the 2A division. We have anticipated this for three years and thought our success was guaranteed by the attitudes displayed by players in the weight room, on the practice field and in the classroom. Great days were ahead of us!

As coaches who teach the importance of character, how honor is critical and the necessity of strength when times are tough, we now find ourselves tested to the extreme as we struggle to understand player actions that intimidated and made teammates fearful. We wrestle with the knowledge that our coaching careers are now interrupted by the poor decisions made by certain players. Sleepless nights will be commonplace as we live with the ramifications of player behavior outside our control. We will do our best to process these circumstances through the lens of hoping every young man we have ever coached chooses to do what is right, will display character and have the strength to live honorably. We still think that each and every person can learn from their mistakes and become better people.

There will be no winners unless we all work together to find a way to support our students, provide boundaries and use discipline to encourage respectful behavior that will reflect positively on our entire community. We are in this together as a community. We all are shocked by the alleged events. We all feel the need to seek justice but the casualties should not include those of us who care deeply about our community, school, players and people.

The avalanche of support we have received the past few weeks is appreciated, and we are humbled to know how much of a difference we have made in the lives of so many young men, how many parents have appreciated us and how so many still believe in us. But, circumstances have brought us to this point in time, and we feel that it is important to send a clear message to players, parents and community members.

Players, we will cheer as loud as we can even though we won’t be calling the plays this fall. We will support you the best way we can even though we will not be there for the half-time speech. We will talk about the big wins with pride in our heart even though we won’t be cheering with you as we watch game film together. We will struggle right along with you when things don’t go your way even though we won’t be in the locker room with you. We will encourage you as much as we can even though we can’t be on the field beside you.

Parents, we will work to maintain your trust. We will stand strong for your boys even though we aren’t coaching them this season. We will tutor, explain, teach, coach and, most importantly, continue to love your sons. We want each and every young man to experience the success that is possible only through the unique venue that football offers. Please join us in encouraging your son to become part of Moffat County football!

School board, administrators and community members, we will support and actively pursue efforts to make certain a system is put in place so that this type of incident never happens again.

Great days still can be ahead of us this season, and we always will stand beside and support the mighty Bulldogs of Moffat County High School.

Kip Hafey

Lance Scranton

Jim Neton

Derek Duran

Ken Olinger

Shane Hadley

Jason Buhrman

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