Parents drive another coach out

Worthington High School football coach Brad Grimmius is the latest youth sports coach who’s had it with parents.

He quit yesterday, writing in an open letter that coaching has affected his family and that he’s been an “absent father” from August through mid-November. “As many know, I put so much into something and I forget the important things,” he said.

He said he loves coaching the game and teaching kids about “doing the right things in life on and off the field.”

As for parents, he won’t miss them one bit.

I will not miss the constant complaints from parents whose kid did not start, or did not play that much, or did not earn a scholarship. Each year this seems to increase more and more. I would like to tell them, here is my whistle knock yourself out and give it a try. I will take the high road and not look back over the years on the negative aspects of coaching. I personally have paid a price for the rewards over the years. It is now my turn to be selfish and direct my attention to what should be the most important things – Sheila, Haley and Cade.

Grimmius, a 1993 Worthington grad, was named head coach in 2010.

Earlier this month, Stillwater girls hockey coach Tony Scheid, who did nothing but win, walked away, citing “an unrelenting and vicious personal series of verbal attacks from a group of parents of intensity unlike any I could have imagined.”

  • BReynolds33

    When I got into coaching, I thought, without a doubt, getting the kids to do what I wanted them to do would be the most stressful part of the job. I’m sure at some point I’ve been more wrong, but that has to rank in the top five.

  • Jack

    Thank you for your service Mr. Grimmius. Your family is more important than your job. Something that all of us should remember.

  • wjc

    What will it take for parents to get a clue? Hey people! Most likely your kid isn’t going to be a pro athlete, be in the Olympics, or even get a college scholarship. Let the kids learn about sports, gain some skills and have fun, not listen to you whine about how much they are playing.

    I loved playing sports when I was a kid (mostly of the pick-up game variety), but organized sports have seemingly become a nightmare at many schools.

    • You know that moment when you’re teaching your kid how to ride a bike, and you run along, holding the bike up while the kid thinks s(he)’s riding the bike herself.

      and then there’s that moment when you have to think about letting go?

      I think that’s the moment that trips up many parents and guarantees years of therapy for the participants.

      • ec99

        My brother, ten years my senior, taught me how to ride a bike. I think he enjoyed letting go and watching me fall–numerous times. Guess that why you don’t see siblings hassling coaches.

  • PaulJ

    Children raising children.

  • Mike Worcester

    Combine the cost of having kids participate in youth activities (not just in h.s. but in all the outside leagues that exist now), the delusions of fame that parents get into their heads about their kids, and the ever-present pressure to win at all costs, and it’s a wonder anyone wants to be a coach in this environment. It’s hard to teach true sportsmanship to kids when their parents are behaving like the complete antithesis.

  • Al

    I had the same summer softball coach from elementary through middle school. I wonder if his continued presence built a rapport with our parents? Or maybe it was just a different time? (Really, it wasn’t THAT long ago…)

  • Sue

    My husband was a girls softball coach. Many of my daughter’s friends were on the team. I could not believe how many of those parents came up to him to ask him why “their child” wasn’t playing more. Honestly, some of those kids were no where close to the picture parents had in their mind of their brilliance. When are grown adults who are parents are going to realize that their kid is not “the best athlete on the team” and that sports are an opportunity to learn other lessons than “my kid is on the path to be a professional athlete”?

    What was even more telling about these parents is how they treated my husband and me (his wife in the process). As a coach he really worked hard to be fair and give all the girls playing time. He was a very hard working coach who donated his time and spent hours trying to be a positive force in these kids life. What did he get for it? Nothing but complaining from parents and whining from kids. It really showed me, as a parent how out of touch these parents were. Some of these parents I had counted as “friends”. Not anymore – I don’t give them any of my time and I certainly encourage my daughter to find other “friends”.

    We as a society talk about this problem but honestly it does not seem to be improving. That is what is discouraging.

    • I do think there is a difference between a school sport and a park/rec-type league. I think there’s a case to be made that in a school sport, fielding the best team is the poitn of order. On rec teams and rec leagues, I think, is where there’s a lot of conflict between parents and coaches over playing time etc. I think in those leagues, kids should get something on the order of equal playing time . The point of those league is recreation and I’ve seen coaches in those leagues manage as if they’re in a competitive league. They’re not.

      • ChrisF

        It’s not the same but I used to work for a big corporation with multi-level soft ball teams. I joined the lowest level co-ed team thinking it would be for fun, just a good excuse to hang out and have fun.

        Boy was I wrong. The coaches (our co-workers) were awful. Arguing with the umpires, insulting the other team members, not playing a lot of our own team. It was embrassing.

    • tboom

      I’ll bet you and your husband aren’t teachers … count your blessings. (Think both extremes, helicopter parents and uninvolved parents).

      • sue

        Actually my husband is a 28 year veteran teacher. :-

  • Ole_Roll

    One of the great things about athletics is that it has a way of exposing the true character of the participants – from the coaches to the fans, and of course the players and the parents. And just like the rest of life, the results are sometimes ugly.

    In my lifetime the biggest change in youth sports is that, for better or (most likely) worse, parents are significantly more invested than ever before. The growth of off-season conditioning programs, off-season club teams, and specialized training means there is tremendous pressure to spend time and money just to ensure that a child even has a chance to have playing time on a varsity field, floor, or court. And where time, money, and our children’s happiness go, our emotions are sure to follow. One outcome is that many parents just don’t see their children or their performances objectively and don’t stand quietly by when their son or daughter is on the bench. None of that excuses poor behavior or harassing of coaches, at all, but it does help to understand it.

    I’m not familiar with Coach Grimmius or his team, but it’s disappointing to see any coach leave a job under those circumstances. One has to wonder where the Athletic Director was in all of this and whether he or she did what they could to mediate and advocate for the coaching staff.