About a month ago, Ernest Jones, the new assistant coach for the University of Connecticut’s football team explained how faith was part of his team’s philosophy:
“And we’re going to do things in our building, fellowship, non-denominational type things, players, coaches. We’re going to make sure they understand that Jesus Christ should be in the center of our huddle, that that’s something that is important. If you want to be successful and you want to win, get championships, then you better understand that this didn’t happen because of you. This happened because of our Lord and Savior. That’s going to be something said by [new head coach] Bob Diaco. That’s something that’s going to be said by Ernest Jones. That’s who we are.”
Both Jones and Diaco were hired from the University of Notre Dame, so their religiosity isn’t surprising, but it sure as hell doesn’t belong at a secular school. The comments also supported the notion that atheists weren’t welcome on the team.
University president Susan Herbst made it clear at the time that all students, regardless of faith, were welcome at UConn, and that “employees cannot appear to endorse or advocate for a particular religion or spiritual philosophy as part of their work at the university, or in their interactions with our students.” Still, apologies from the coaches weren’t forthcoming.
Yesterday, weeks after all of that went down, Jones announced that he would be resigning. Whether you believe him or not, he says it has nothing to do with the Jesus controversy:
“Ernest has resigned his position effective immediately here at the university after deep introspection and reflection,” UConn coach Bob Diaco said Monday. “And it is entirely family and personally related.”
The UConn athletic communications department issued a two-sentence statement saying Jones had resigned and the division of athletics would have no further comment.
Asked whether the resignation had anything to do with Jones’ comments about religion, UConn President Susan Herbst said it did not, according to university spokesperson Stephanie Reitz. “She considered the matter closed in January,” Reitz said.
Regardless of his reasons, let’s hope the lesson has sunk in with the other coaches. No one cares about your faith. You can believe whatever you want, but when you’re on the job, keep it to yourself.
(Thanks to Frank for the link!)