Your Kid’s Not Going Pro

A Youth Sports Blog

Micah Grimes gets fired

with 13 comments

My guess is, the next step in the Dallas Academy saga is Grimes suing Covenant of Dallas, where he coached until today. From the Dallas Morning News:

The Covenant School fired its girls’ basketball coach Sunday, the same day he distributed an e-mail and posted on a Web site that he disagreed with the school’s headmaster as well as the school’s chairman of the board, who have publicly apologized for Covenant’s 100-0 victory over Dallas Academy.

Kyle Queal, Covenant’s head of school, said former coach Micah Grimes “now only represents himself.” Queal said he could not answer if the firing was a direct result of his e-mail and posting.

Grimes’ e-mail and posting said, “In response to the statement posted on The Covenant School Web site, I do not agree with the apology or the notion that the Covenant School girls’ basketball team should feel embarrassed or ashamed,” Micah Grimes wrote in an email sent to The Dallas Morning News. “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 apologize for a wide-margin victory when my girls played with honor and integrity.”

(I’m looking for the personal web site. I will link to it once I find it. Here it is.)

So let’s review what turned an otherwise nondescript small, private high school girls’ basketball game into the latest referendum to where you stand on sportsmanship, youth athletics and what it means to be an American.

Jan. 13: Covenant School of Dallas beats Dallas Academy 100-0.

Jan. 22: The Dallas Morning News posts a story about the game, which gets almost instantaneous reaction from keyboard tappers around the world such as myself. Later that day, Covenant posts a note offering to forfeit the game. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban invites the Academy team to American Airlines Arena for an NBA game.

(NOTE: I emailed Morning News reporter Barry Horn tonight about how he was tipped off to this story. He said he read his paper’s own box score the morning after the game and made calls when he got back to work that Monday, Jan. 19. Horn doesn’t cover high school sports, but he “had seen Dallas Academy play this season and I had seen Covenant in the past.” He added, “I have always contended that the best stories in the newspaper come out of the agate or the briefs.” Oh yeah.)

Jan. 24: Covenant coach Micah Grimes sends an email and posts to a web site (not Covenant’s) that he disagrees with his school’s decision. Later that day, Covenant fires him.

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I’ll bet you were expecting a picture of Donald Trump.

Grimes seemed to know the guillotine was about to drop. From the Morning News:

Grimes did not immediately respond to repeated email requests for an interview. But his email and Web site post concluded, “I believe in the lessons that sports teach us. Competition builds character, and teaches us to value selflessness, hard work, and perseverance. As a coach, I have instilled in my girls these values. So if I loose my job over these statements, I will walk away with my integrity.”

Not if you spell “lose” with two o’s, you won’t.

Grimes, until Jan. 22 an unknown coach at an unknown school, is now an international lighting rod. (Horn noted in the story on Grimes’ firing that the original story got 665,000 page views, “an enormous number for a story on a local private school girls’ basketball game.” The previous quote was an example of extreme fucking understatement.) Either you support Grimes because, hey, what can you do when your team is that much better, or you want to tar and feather him for apparently keeping a press defense on for most of the game, thus allowing many, many backcourt steals and easy layups.

However, as President Obama would say, ahhhhh, let’s be clear here. No matter what Covenant says, Micah Grimes was not fired for running up the score. If so, he would have been fired after running over Waxahachie Prep 77-27, or crushing Irving North Hills 71-19. I’m guessing Terrell’s coach wasn’t fired after beating Covenant 79-33.

That the score had the potential to be 100-0 was not shocking, given that Waxahachie Prep had beaten Dallas Academy 66-4. Dallas Academy’s other losses, at least the ones I know of, were 66-4 and 49-7. (The team had two games scheduled between Covenant and Grimes’ firing, and I’m looking for those scores.) Should those coaches have been fired, too?

Girls basketball at the high school level, nearly four decades into Title IX, is still an area chock-full of blowouts, because some schools seem to have the funding or wherewithal to take it seriously, while others for some reason do not. Of course, nobody had nice, round numbers like 100 and 0 in their scores, so those other stompings aren’t newsworthy.

Also, that Dallas Academy is a school for special-needs students figures into that mix, too. Although lost in translation was that the school is not a special-education school in the way you usually think of it; it’s for kids with learning disabilities such as ADD and dyslexia, and it has had legitimate athletic success in other sports. Comparing the beatdown to Matt Dillon running down retarded kids in “There’s Something About Mary,” as a Chicago radio talk show host I once taught at Columbia College did on the air Friday, was not accurate, and made the school and coach look worse than they would have otherwise, which is an accomplishment. (By the way, in Grimes’ rebuttal on his own site, flightbasketball.com, he quotes an unidentified players on his team: “I have ADD and ADHD. There is nothing that separates me from anyone on the Dallas Academy girls team, so there is nothing that should separate the value of our sides.”)

airstaff_defalco250

Carmen, is this revenge on me because I made you cover dance?

I’m not faulting Horn for his stories. I’m faulting Covenant for folding so quickly and obviously. If the administration thought Grimes was a good man when his team won 77-27, why was he a bad man at 100-0? Oh yeah, because the school’s good name was being slagged all around the world. I don’t know Grimes, and I don’t know whether he was trying to run it up. However, I don’t blame him for going down fighting. If Grimes hasn’t found a lawyer already, I’m sure one (or many) is finding him.

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13 Responses

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  1. Are you for real. 49-7 is ok if you’re not full court pressing. How the game is played when your opponent is obviously beaten is the measuring stick for character. Micah Grimes is an absolute idiot and so are you if you support him. Kudos to Covenant!

    Tom

    January 25, 2009 at 11:20 pm

  2. I think this has got be the STUPIDEST thing I have ever heard. There is no mercy rule in TAPPS sports and the referees did not stop the game, but the COACH acted shamefully because his girls played the game! This is exactly why there are so many weak and thin skinned kids today; because they have weak and thin skinned parents. If you are going to allow your children to compete in high school sports, you better damn well be prepared for them to experience competition. I mean really, what kind of message are we really sending our kids when we criticize a team for being good? Furthermore, by harping on the winning team, you are further damaging the losing team who DID play ALL 4 quarters of this game even though they were losing. Why not congratulate them on having heart and perserverence? You people have REALLY got this ass backwards, and I hope if you have children you WILL NOT dare put them in competitive sports. I also think people are asking the wrong questions. Instead of asking why Grimes allowed this to get out of hand, what you should be asking is why a team that can get beat 100-0 is competing in a league with teams that can beat them 100-0? This just makes no since to me, and I would like to tell all the MORONS that are enabling this wimp behavior to grow a pair, it would really do your kids a favor. I have a son that plays college bball and a 7th grader and an 11th grader that both are starters on their respective teams and I think I am harder on them than my husband. I have 2 rules in my house regarding basketball. 1)No C’s D’s & F’s on the grade report or you’re comming off the team, and more importantly 2)No whinning. If you are going to compete, go hard. Some you lose, some you win. That’s the game, and if you can’t accept THAT, you can’t play in my house. I will not tolerate it and I think its proposterous that this is news. This story is precisely why I am against religious schools having competitive sports. These type of schools should have intramural sports ONLY where they compete with teams that are formed from that schools students only.

    ~Aris

    Aris LaRoza Taylor

    January 26, 2009 at 12:51 am

  3. That coach should be fired. 100-0 is a disgrace. These are still kids, not professional athletes. If the score was that bad, the refs should have called the game.

    possum1027

    January 26, 2009 at 12:51 pm

  4. EXACTLY! The refs should have called the game. That’s there job, not the coach’s. The coach was fired because he did his job and that is the BIGGEST bunch of bs I’ve ever seen!

    Aris LaRoza Taylor

    January 26, 2009 at 1:40 pm

  5. Letter sent to Covenant school headmaster and Athletic director

    I do not know you or Coach Grimes, the girl’s Basketball coach. But your decision to fire him/her is absolutely BS. I thought you were a Christian School. You are obviously FAR from it. Fire a coach for winning 100-0…Non Christian like….What the hell are you thinking? Athletics are a contest! There is a winner and a loser. If the other team was that bad…why should your coach tell your girls to play down, not play their best, and play mediocre ball to appease a team that obviously should not be a team. Maybe the AD should be fired for scheduling poor competition instead of the coach.

    Your coach defended your girl’s…If they are good enough to win 100-0, then so be it. Maybe the other team should get better…maybe this will motivate them to get better. I found it Hilarious that the other team got an award! For what….poor play? No it was not giving up. What a JOKE! They should go to Basketball school and get BETTER.

    I cannot believe you are so short sided, so un-christian to not take care of your own. The coach did NOTHING wrong…coached the team to play hard till the final buzzer, they did…your team should be commended for keeping focus. Your coach did their job and did it well…This feel good crap that we need to make the losing school feel good by firing your coach….you are so wrong…Bet Jesus would not fire the coach! Your coach should be commended and defended for defending the team….. They cannot help the other team was so poor…. But then again I would expect this action from a Closed minded, short sided and certainly clueless administration that claims to be christians but really are not!!! You are a discrace to the name Christianity you should maybe go to church and learn the Golden rule again!!!!!

    I know people in Dallas. I will be sure to warn them of your wonderful Christian Values!!!

    Greg Baadte
    A former college coach who has been on both ends of the blowout score!!!!

    Greg Baadte

    January 26, 2009 at 5:44 pm

  6. I’ve been reading about this story from several sites and for almost an hour now. Judging from the comments (from all over) people are pretty sharply divided about whether they felt Grimes had done the right thing. Personally, I don’t have a strong opinion about Grimes’ action. On the one hand, he did take moderate steps to lessen the onslaught as the game progressed. On the other hand, he could have done a lot more to retard his team’s scoring. Moreover, Dallas Academy has had blow-outs whilst playing against other teams, though the number were not as nice and round as 0 or 100; so losing by such wide margins was not a new thing to them. In the end, I’m not sure Grimes had done such an unpardonable thing. Maybe it was excessive, but it seems this is not an uncommon thing in those sporting circles. But I definitely do have strong opinions about the press. These people are just hungry for a sensational story. They see the magic numbers 0 and 100, the fact that the losing team is from a special needs school, and they can just envision the controversy that sells the news. The Covenant School also earns my disdain. In my opinion they folded like a cheap tent not because of any high-falutin moral principles but merely because they wanted to save the school’s skin from bad press. In all of this it is clear to me that the people who screwed up and are continuing to do so are ironically the people who are least involved in the sporting arena. Once again the media has proven to us it can wave a wand and make a little storm in the teacup for our perverse viewing pleasure.

    Ben

    January 29, 2009 at 4:06 am

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