Want to make high school football more exciting? Set up a boxing match between the coaches after the game. Two high school football coaches in Alabama find themselves in the center of unwanted national attention after getting into a post-game fight on Friday, which was caught on video.
Emotions were clearly running high during the game when Cullman High School came from behind to defeat Walker High School 13-10 in the final 18 seconds of the game. While such situations may lead to trash talk and scuffles between opposing players, no one expects for the coaches to be the ones throwing punches. This time, however, the ones behaving badly were two men who were supposed to be setting a positive example.
As the teams began leaving the field, Matt Hopper, defensive coordinator for Cullman, began shouting at John Halladay, head coach for Walker. After exchanging words, the head coach took a shot at Hopper, which led to a brief fight. As the players rushed to defend their coaches, police officers had to separate the men. Halladay didn’t appear to be injured in the fight, but Hopper left the field bloodied. No arrests were made, but the Jasper Police Department is looking into the matter to determine whether charges need to be filed.
Halladay resigned from his head coaching duties on Tuesday, and Hopper has been placed on leave. Hopper’s bloodied face and bruises may be the worst punishment he receives for his actions. According to Suzanna Harbin, president of the Cullman Board of Education, “Our superintendent, Dr. (Doreen) Griffeth was at the game. I talked to her and I understand there is no need to reprimand our coaches and players that they acted with class and dignity during the situation.”
Hopefully for the Cullman and Walker football teams, their coaches will find alternative ways to earn national attention under the Friday night lights as the season continues.