Former Lincoln High School Head Football Coach Tom Mihalovich responded to the accusations against him, just hours after the Des Moines School Board voted four-to-two to fire Mihalovich.
An internal investigation determined that Mihalovich used corporal punishment to discipline a player for criticizing the team online. In this case, corporal punishment meant requiring the player to run for a half-hour.
Mihalovich contends that most coaches, even in other sports, use running as a form of punishment.
Mihalovich was asked, if he saw another coach fired for making a player run, would he change his approach? He responded, “I’ll tell you one thing, with this kind of precedent I would have had to take a look at it and maybe film every one of my practices. That’s what it’s coming to.”
Mihalovich suggested that coaches should start to document their interactions with players, just in case they are accused of wrongdoing.
Regarding the report compiled by district investigators, Mihalovich said that the claims made against him are outright lies or are at best, exaggerations.
Mihalovich said he accepts the fact that he was fired because he said he realizes he never had a chance to keep his job. Mihalovich said that he will miss molding young players on and off the field.
Prior to departing for their game against Sioux City East Thursday night, some of Mihalovich’s former players shared their sadness about the firing. Senior Safety Gabriel Hale said, “I feel like (Coach Mihalovich has) represented the South Side of Des Moines really well in everything that he does (and) shows outstanding character.” Senior Running Back Roy Patterson said, “That’s my coach and I love him.”