We all have someone we look up to, whether it’s a parent, teacher, athlete, etc. For many athletes, they can consider their coaches to be someone that they admire, someone they can model their life after. For the Fort Scott Community College football team, nothing could be further from the truth.
Multiple players from Fort Scott went onto an Instagram Live during the spring with Joe Blake, a JucoBreeze journalist, to discuss some of their experiences with coach Carson Hunter.
What was discussed on that video was truly shocking and disheartening to hear.
Stories of players having to do full practices outside in 20-degree weather, when outdoor practices in weather under 30 degrees is not allowed.
Stories of the coaching staff making the players perform up-downs, or burpees, until “someone’s shoulder came out of place.”
Players having to wake up at 4 a.m. for “punishment practices,” which included, but was not limited to, exercises that left all of the skin on player’s hands gone after crawling on the gym floor.
One player said that Saturday morning practices had him “rethinking football.”
And while those practices were going on, were the coaches encouraging and motivating the players to push through the difficulty and make it through to the other side? No. Players said that coaches often belittled and berated players during those workouts.
The most horrifying story, however, was when a coach on the staff allegedly went to his car in order to grab a gun to break up a fight that he himself started.
The unfortunate truth is that these stories only begin to scratch the surface of all that happened behind closed doors at Fort Scott.
Yes, these stories paint the coaching staff as unprofessional. But on the more extreme side of things, essentially, the coaching staff treated the players as less than human.
And let the record show that there were still some good coaches on the team. But after seeing how the rest of the coaching staff handled day to day practices, they quit, leaving the program.
Football is a sport of discipline, a sport that requires extreme physical and mental endurance to be successful. But there is a line that has to be drawn when it comes to the methods that are used to build those characteristics into the players.
On Monday, Fort Scott Community College announced that the school was terminating the football program.
According to the college, “a competitive football program at FSCC is not sustainable due to the cumulative effect of limited resources, changes in Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC) football eligibility rules in 2016, and the changing ethos of football in general.”
In my opinion, that’s sugarcoating the situation. They lost over 70 athletes from last spring to this fall, many of which can be attributed to the coaching staff situation.
Coaches are supposed to be someone for players to look up to. To idolize. To build a relationship with. To grow with. To win and lose with. They are supposed to be there for the players.
The Fort Scott coaching staff took their responsibilities and spat in the face of every single one of their players. They destroyed all trust. And in some cases, they destroyed the love of football from their players.They destroyed any semblance of a relationship that coaches and players are supposed to have.
And that is an impossible road to come back from.
Cole Deutschendorf is a Hesston sophomore in general studies.