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MN high school football coach resigns amid political harassment, unfair treatment accusations

RED WING, Minn. - John Ott stepped down as head coach of the Red Wing football team, leaving the Wingers five games into his tenure as head coach.First acknowledged by the Red Wing Football Twitter account (@winger_football) on Wednesday, Oct. 5,...

John Ott. Forum News Service file photo.
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RED WING, Minn. – John Ott stepped down as head coach of the Red Wing football team, leaving the Wingers five games into his tenure as head coach.

First acknowledged by the Red Wing Football Twitter account (@winger_football) on Wednesday, Oct. 5, Ott confirmed on a phone call Wednesday that he was stepping down as head coach.

PREVIOUSLY: Political harassment, unfair treatment allegations plague MN high school football team

“In a letter dated October 6, 2016, Mr. Ott formally resigned from his head football coaching duties as of October 4, 2016,” Red Wing activities director John Miller said via email on Friday. “The resignation will be acted upon by the school board at an upcoming regular meeting.”

At Monday’s board meeting, Ott was accused of political harassment and unfair treatment by a group of parents and players .


In his resignation letter, Ott stepped down as both head football coach and as a special education teacher from Red Wing Public School.

“I cannot be employed by a district that allows parents to dictate where their child should be playing on the football field, nor can I consent to a parent to allow their child to continue to play football after their son has undermined the football team and staff by failing at a coordinated attempt to organize a walk out,” Ott wrote.
“Members of a team have a responsibility to behave on and off the field in a way to contribute to the team’s effort to be as successful as it can. As a coach, that is my responsibility to uphold that obligation with support from administration. I do not have that support. I have always had a policy of not discussing playing time with parents, yet I have been thrust into two such meetings by administration where playing time was allowed to be discussed.

“It is imperative that the head coach has the ultimate say when it comes to playing time, which is why playing time is addressed in the football guidelines that the parents sign consent to, before their son is allowed to participate. Having been forced by administration to have these playing time meetings has been particularly damaging to the football team.

“Finally, at no time has anyone in the football program in any way, shape or form harassed anybody about anything. These accusations have been made formally by John Howe in front of the school board on (Oct. 3). Nothing could be further from the truth. I am truly flabbergasted that a parent was allowed to speak at a recent school board meting, as it was in direct violation of numeral three of the school district’s public comment guidelines. Because of this, I am also choosing to resign as a teacher with the district. I cannot be part of a district that fails to follow its own guidelines.”

Assistant coaches Kyle Blahnik and Clair Austin will split duties on offense and defense, respectively, as serve as co-head coaches, beginning with Friday’s game at Mankato West.
While Blahnik and Austin coach the remainder of the season, Miller is working on avoiding further issues.

“From the administration, we are looking into policies and procedure that are presently in place and areas where we need to make improvements to create an environment where our coaches are supported by administration, families and the community,” Miller wrote. “This is not just for football, for for all activities here at Red Wing Public Schools.

“As the new activities director for Red Wing Public Schools, I believe that developing positive relationships with students, families and community members is an essential ingredient to building a strong program. We will continue to work with all stakeholders to make sure this is at the forefront of our thinking.”

Related Topics: FOOTBALL
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