Special McElwain Firing Mailbag - October 30, 2017: Coaching Ethics and Faking Your Own Death

Question:  Coach, can we get your take on Jim McElwain’s “death threat” fiasco and subsequent firing?

I am still not sure what he was trying to accomplish with the whole death threat sideshow, but if we assume it was part of an attempt to gain a strategic advantage, I have to say I respect that. In fact, it’d be hypocritical of me to say otherwise, given that I previously faked my own death for my youth football team’s benefit.

Let me explain. Last year, my youth football team was in a tough spot. We had a big game coming up, but 3 of my best players were suspended for a week for stealing prescription meds from one of their teachers. The problem is that, by league rules, you can’t play during a suspension, meaning they would miss that week’s game unless I could figure out a way to get the suspension lifted. After the principal called my bluff when I threatened to sue the school for failing to prevent students from getting their hands on opioids (not sure what qualifies as an opioid, but I wanted to sound serious), the only option was to get the game delayed to the next week.

Hence, I decided to fake my own death. I won’t go into details, but it involved sending in a fake obituary to the local paper and using my deep connections in the local mortuary industry to schedule a fake funeral to coincide with the game. The important thing is it worked, as my DC was able convince the league to delay the game to the next week so the players could attend the funeral.

I got suspended for two games, but the maneuver worked. With our full roster, we won both games. If McElwain had been as creative as me, maybe he’d stlll have a job.