Gophers football players shocked, angry over Tracy Claeys firing
At first glance, it appeared Gophers football players were just shocked by the news of coach Tracy Claeys' firing Tuesday. "I'm so confused," sophomore quarterback Demry Croft tweeted. "Wow!" freshman corner Coney Durr tweeted. "Just wow!" Then s...
At first glance, it appeared Gophers football players were just shocked by the news of coach Tracy Claeys' firing Tuesday.
"I'm so confused," sophomore quarterback Demry Croft tweeted.
"Wow!" freshman corner Coney Durr tweeted. "Just wow!"
Then shock and confusion took a quick, sharp turn to anger.
"How can someone make such an idiotic decision," freshman linebacker Carter Coughlin said in a tweet. "I've always been really mindful about what I tweet but this is bullsh-."
Despite Mark Coyle's claim Tuesday that Claeys "agreed" with the decision to suspend 10 players for the Holiday Bowl because of the alleged sexual assault that took place in September, players felt Claeys stuck with them throughout the process.
After the players announced their decision to boycott all football activities in an effort to gain "due process" for their suspended teammates, Claeys tweeted he had "never been more proud" of his players.
"I have the utmost respect for Coach Claeys," freshman linebacker Kamal Martin tweeted. "I don't believe any other coach in the NCAA would've stood up for the rights of due process, knowing that his job is one the line."
Martin also lauded Claeys for having the "mental stability" to coach the Gophers to their ninth win of the season - an upset victory over Washington State in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 27 - amid the controversy.
But the impressive showing by the short-handed Gophers wasn't enough to save Claeys' job.
"Win games, get fired," freshman receiver Hunter Register tweeted. "I'm not a math major, but something just seems odd about that equation."
While the public looked to be split on whether Claeys should keep his job, players seemed to be unified behind their coach. Senior cornerback Jalen Myrick tweeted it's "sad how the administration doesn't care about the players at all."
There has been a disconnect between the administration and the football team from the outset of this process, from the suspension to the boycott and the discussions that followed to Claeys' firing Tuesday. And it doesn't seem as if that fence will be mended anytime soon.
"Wanna learn how to destroy a football program that's on the rise," freshman defensive back Ray Buford tweeted, "follow the blueprint of this administration."
The question now is, whoever the coach hired to replace Claeys is, how many players will stick around to play next season?
Senior quarterback Mitch Leidner was asked if he thought players might transfer this offseason. His response: "Yes."
"The Whole staff is gone, this affects so many people!," Durr tweeted. "Coach (Jay) Sawvel is the #1 reason I came here!"