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Basketball coach gets the boot for ‘un-Christlike’ win

Micah Grimes loses his job for guiding his team to a 100-0 win in a high school tournament.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2009 16:18 IST

The coach of a Texas high school basketball team that beat another team 100-0 was fired on Sunday. Kyle Queal, the headmaster for Covenant School, said he could not answer if the firing was a direct result of coach Micah Grimes’ e-mail disagreeing with administrators who called the blowout “shameful”.

On its website last week, Covenant, a private Christian school, posted a statement regretting the outcome of its January 13 shutout win over Dallas Academy. “It is shameful and an embarrassment that this happened. This clearly does not reflect a Christ-like and honourable approach to competition,” said the statement, signed by Queal and board chairman Todd Doshier.

Grimes made it clear in a Sunday email to the Dallas Morning Herald that he did not agree with his school’s assessment. “I do not agree with the apology or the notion that the Covenant School girls’ basketball team should feel embarrassed or ashamed,” Grimes wrote in the e-mail, according to the newspaper. “We played the game as it was meant to be played. My values and my beliefs would not allow me to run up the score on any opponent, and it will not allow me to apologise for a wide-margin victory when my girls played with honour and integrity.

“So if I lose my job over these statements, I will walk away with my integrity.”

Dallas Academy has eight girls on its varsity team and about 20 girls in its high school. It is winless over the last four seasons. The academy boasts of small class sizes and specialises in teaching students struggling with “learning differences,” such as short attention spans or dyslexia.

Since the day the Dallas Morning News reported the news on the 100-point shutout, the match has come under national spotlight.

Dallas Academy coaches and administrators claim Covenant kept the pressure on until it reached 100 points midway through the fourth quarter.

But, Grimes in his email, termed scoring 100 points “unfortunate” and claimed that his team eased out after the score reached 25-0 just three minutes into the game.

“It just happened,” he wrote. “Please know Covenant intended no harm against them. I see this as a real learning opportunity, so we can prevent this from happening in the future.”

Dallas Academy coach Andrew Lott, however, had a different take. While he agreed that Covenant stopped pressing at that point, he claimed they renewed their intent later in the game. “I am 100 per cent sure of this,” said Lott. “He (Grimes) is entitled to his opinion but if you ask 10 people about it, you might get 10 different answers. Maybe we could look at the tape.”

The parents of Covenant’s eight players met with school officials on Saturday and outlined three goals for the programme: “We want to represent Christ with the highest respect, we don’t want to humiliate anyone ever and we want our students to be enthusiastic in everything they do.”

There is no mercy rule in girls’ basketball that shortens the game or permits the clock to continue running when scores become one-sided. There is, however, “a golden rule” that should have applied in this contest, many feel.

First Published: Jan 28, 2009 16:14 IST