Former South Dakota Football Coach Ed Meierkort Fired
Former University of South Dakota football coach Ed Meierkort was fired Wednesday, after one season on the job as head coach at Celebration High School, in Celebration, Florida.
Celebration was winless this past season in ten games, scoring just 85 points (40 of which came in one game), while giving up 418 points. The team was shut out four times.
But despite the poor play, Meierkort's dismissal might have more to do with what's being alleged off the field.
According to numerous media reports in the Orlando Area, Meierkort was investigated for a pair of incidents, one involving money, the other player physicals.
In a story last month, WFTV-TV reported looking at 'hundreds of pages in a file that included complaints' about Meierkort:
Most of the file centered on a fundraiser Meierkort is accused of mismanaging. There's also testimony from staff members who call the coach a bully and a teacher who said the coach got physical with him during a confrontation.
But an allegation made by the school's athletic director is raising red flags. It states, "The football team had well over 20 athletes that were ineligible
--- several of which were still being allowed to practice."
It appears some players didn't undergo proper health physicals, which is a violation of Florida High School Athletic Association rules.
Rick Pedone, Sports Editor at the Osceola News-Gazette, told me the Florida Department of Education has launched an investigation on the physical issue, and the findings of that investigation should be made public by the end of this month.
In a March 15th story, 'Who Dropped the Ball at Celebration High?', the Osceola News-Gazette wrote:
The School District investigated when Principal Dr. Laura Rhinehart discovered that many fundraising cards issued to the football players went missing, and also that a large sum of cash turned in by two of the football players ended up in Coach Meierkort’s personal account, a gross violation of School District policy.
Meierkort promptly replaced the cash with a personal check, explaining that he took the money home for security reasons.
The School District investigation uncovered no criminal intent.
Meierkort was fired by USD in November 2011, after eight seasons and a 54-35 record. Under Meierkort, the Coyotes won a share of the North Central Conference championship in 2005, and made the NCAA Division II Playoffs in 2006.
In four seasons at Division I, USD was 21-22, with a win at Minnesota in 2011, one of just four road wins in 22 games during that time.