COLLIERVILLE, TN (abc24.com) - We want him back! That’s the word from many Collierville parents who are calling for the return of former football coach, Shawn Abel. He resigned after his angry rant at the team was posted on the internet.
Collierville played against Ridgeway Friday, October 28, 2011. It’s the first game without the head coach. Assistant coach Mike O’Neill filled in for Abel. Opinions were split about the former coach. One thing is for sure: those who do support him want their voices heard loud and clear.
“I’m pro coach. I think he shouldn’t have been let go,” said Collierville parent, Jimmy Rowland.
“I hope he doesn’t lose his teaching job,” said parent, Kris McCaslin.
Abel still has plenty of support despite his rant that was heard across the country, thanks to YouTube. Abel has apologized for the r-rated language thrown at his players. Parents we spoke with say that’s just part of football.
“This is just a football coach, that’s what they do,” said McCaslin. “They got to be tough on them, they need motivation. We know how lazy teenagers are. They do it in the NFL.”
“My son played football at another school and he was talked that way,” said Rowland. “It’s part of the discipline.”
A number of his former players think otherwise.
“I know they are a lot happier. They’re a lot more relaxed. They’ve been saying it’s been the best practice they’ve had all year,” said Collierville High School senior, Brad Milligan.
Abel is still on paid administrative leave. He teaches math at the school but it’s unclear if he’ll be back in the classroom anytime soon.
“I feel sorry for him because I’ve lost my temper with my kids and I’ve said things I regretted,” McCaslin told abc24.com.
“I think we should have forgiveness for him,” said another mom, Jennifer Goodwin. “I feel bad for him.”
Collierville's principal told abc24.com it would be inappropriate if the former coach would have made an appearance at the game. Abel never did show up.
Shawn Abel is the second coach to get in trouble this season. In September 2011, four Melrose High athletic officials, including the football coach, were suspended after being heard on tape using racist language when talking to the football players.