Tech Coach takes "full responsibility"

Youth football league started by Tech coach
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The day after Friday night's brawl found football players back on the Tech football field. They weren't Tech players, but members of the Greater Central Indiana Youth Football League.

Several of the young players parents were well aware of what had happened there the night before.

John Lewis, Jr. called the football fight "a bad mess," while his friend Dorothy Totty called it "poor sportsmanship."

Totty said, "Football should be about teaching them discipline and how to follow the rules, to know you can't win all the time but you need to be a bigger person and do better next time."

Dina Miller, was especially upset that one of Tech's assistant coaches threw a punch during the fight.

"It shows no guidance or leadership? Where's the leadership?" she asked. "I hope there's going to be some actions taken (involving) both of the coaches. They're not being good role models for the kids."

The man calling Saturday's game from the press box couldn't agree more.

Emil Ekiyor said, "Last night was a coaches nightmare. In all my years in sports I've never had anything like that happen... I was thinking about it all night and replaying everything over and over."

Ekiyor is Tech's head football coach. It was his players and assistant coach involved in the fight.

"It is not something we teach or condone and there will be some consequences from us and from the IHSAA and we accept those consequences," he said.

As for his assistant coach throwing a punch?

"We cannot excuse that if it's provoked or not, especially by an adult. The coach who did it is a volunteer coach, a great person, a great role model but he threw the punch and he is going to be suspended the rest of the season," Ekiyor said.

It turns out Ekiyor was back at the Tech field Saturday morning, because he started the youth football league three years ago to give kids something positive to pursue thru high school.

He said, "We just know getting kids involved in athletics does a whole lot for them."

Ekiyor said the league, which runs 11 weeks, includes more than 700 young players ranging from 8-to-14-years-old. He said he attends most Saturday games, even when faced with something like Friday night's fight.

"We deal with a lot of kids who come from a tough situation at the youth league and high school. They don't have a lot of male figures. As coaches we have to walk as mentors, so when things like that happen. It's important we show up Saturday morning and answer questions to parents and to kids and reassure them it's not something we condone or that's supposed to happen," he said.

As for his team? "We can't excuse (their behavior.) We take full responsibility... but I just feel really bad for my kids, that have worked so hard the last three years to create a reputation, to build a program, to get people to see them as kids who want to do the right thing. I told them last night you can spend years building reputation and it's destroyed in 30 seconds."