Grand Valley State Coach Resigns After Hitler Comments

Grand Valley State
Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox

Grand Valley State Offensive Coordinator Morris Berger has resigned after an interview where he said that one historical figure he would like to meet, is Adolf Hitler.

Berger made the quixotic remarks during an interview with the school’s student-run newspaper, the Grand Valley Lanthorn.

The paper’s reporter noted that Berger was a history major in college and then asked what historical figure he would like to meet.

Even as he answered, Berger seemed to sense that he was sailing into treacherous waters:

This is probably not going to get a good review, but I’m going to say, Adolf Hitler. It was obviously very, sad and he had bad motives, but the way he was able to lead was second-to-none. How he rallied a group and a following, I want to know how he did that. Bad intentions, of course, but you can’t deny he wasn’t a great leader.

Those not-so-good reviews began immediately. Only a few days later, Berger was suspended by the school for his newspaper quote, and the school roundly condemned his interview.

Now, three days after his suspension, the coach has resigned.

Berger released a statement saying in part:

Over the last 11 years, I have taken great pride in the responsibility and privilege of being a teacher, coach, mentor, and a valued member of the community. I was excited and proud to be at Grand Valley, and am disappointed that I will not get the opportunity to help these players in 2020. However, I do not want to be a distraction to these kids, this great university or Coach [Matt] Mitchell, as they begin preparations for the upcoming season.

The coach also posted an “open letter” to his Twitter account apologizing for his failure and for mishandling an answer that “fell way short of the mark.”

The college had only just hired Berger on Jan. 20. Before that, he was a tight ends coach for Texas State, and in 2017 and 2018, he was a member of Oklahoma State’s coaching staff.

That wasn’t the end of controversy over the story, though. The school paper earned some condemnation of its own when it deleted Berger’s “Hitler” answer from its website after the untoward response stirred criticism. The paper eventually restored the original story after being accused of trying to whitewash the news.

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