A middle school football coach in Oregon has been fired for remaining steadfast in his decision to bring his team to Hooters for an end-of-the-season party despite attempts from the district's athletic director to move the awards dinner to another location.
According to a report from Eric Apalategui for The Oregonian, Corbett Middle School head coach Randy Burbach was "unyielding and emphatically said no" to AD J.P. Soulagnet when he tried to persuade the coach to move the party to a place where "families could attend and feel comfortable," according to a letter Soulagnet wrote to "families and friends of Corbett 7th/8th Grade Football."
Soulagnet said that the event is no longer associated with the Corbett School District and that he "cannot further support them in coaching roles here at Corbett based on the unwillingness to change the location of this event to a more appropriate spot."
In the letter, he said that his decision to try to persuade the coaches to move the party was based on his conversations with many people in the community:
"I started the conversation off with posing a question. Outside of a bar, tavern, or strip club where would be the next worse place in the lines of restaurants to take a middle school football team to? Time after time the reply was Hooters...Their menu and food is good! They however are not known worldwide for their family style restaurant...It is not a restaurant that I would feel good about my wife or daughter working at. I think it sends the wrong message to our young men and that saddens and worries me the most."
According to KGW Portland, Burbach has no regrets about the decision and said that he refused to be bullied by "the vocal minority."
Mike Painter, a parent volunteer on the team, had said before news of Burbach's firing that dismissing the coach would be a "huge loss" for the children on the team because Burbach is "as good as it gets" and guessed that Burbach spent approximately $2,000 of his own money on the team as an example of his dedication to the kids.
"He went so far over and above what any coach would do. It's unbelievable. It's because he cares."
The parent volunteer was also clear that he didn't have any objection to the party being held at Hooters because he believes that the venue was chosen for its fun and "family" atmosphere, but admitted that because some people were concerned about the coach's choice of venue that perhaps it would make sense to change the location. MANDEL: Lessons in toughness: The rise of Stanford linebacker Trent Murphy