Think your town takes high school football seriously? Let us point you toward Middletown High School, where football coach Lance Engleka has resigned amid death threats.
Engleka quit following a 48-0 loss last weekend that capped a 1-9 season and a 1-19 two-year stint as coach. Middletown had lost 18 consecutive games under Engleka before winning its penultimate game this season.
According to the Cincinnati Inquirer, Engleka received “online death threats, threats of physical violence, personal and deceitful attacks from parents and community members, and verbal abuse leveled against myself, my family, and my coaching staff,” which have “devolved into an unsafe environment which I refuse to tolerate.”
“These threats of physical harm and verbal abuse stem from the misguided community perspective on the irrational importance on winning high school football games, unrealistic expectations from parents related to their son’s abilities and future prospects, and parental belief that bullying coaches is an acceptable method of communication. I understand the high-profile nature and acceptable criticism associated with being the head football coach at Middletown High School, however, winning and losing at the high school level should not be a life-threatening situation.”
Engleka will remain at Middletown in his other role, as dean of students. Middletown superintendent Marlon Styles said he was “shocked” by the coach’s reason for resignation.
“I was shocked to see what he had in the letter,” Styles said. “I was shocked from my chair as a superintendent. At every athletic competition that has taken place this fall season, whether that’s football or any athletic program, I’m 100 percent confident in the leadership of Aaron Zupka and the athletic department that all practices and games for our visitors, players, coaches, parents and other teams were 100 percent safe.”
Look, we get it, people of Middletown. You really like high school football. You have a lot of pride in your team. You’re annoyed that they were once good and now they’re not. You think that Engleka is a crappy coach. But maybe — and hear us out here — you shouldn’t threaten him or his family because you’re mad about football.