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Coach who said he’d like to have dinner with Hitler resigns

Grand Valley State University announced Thursday that its assistant football coach will resign after receiving widespread criticism regarding a statement he made to a student newspaper saying Adolf Hitler’s leadership skills were “second-to-none.”

“In a poor effort to give an outside-the-box answer to a question, I mistakenly communicated something absurd,” former coach Morris Berger said in a statement about his resignation.

“There is no justifiable excuse — it was insensitive and not my intent,” he said.

Berger’s resignation comes after the university originally suspended him from the offensive coordinator position on Monday, following backlash from the article.

In an interview with press Thursday, Berger apologized for the statement.

Head Coach Matt Mitchell said in a press statement that Berger’s departure is in the best interests of the team and the university. 

“Nothing in our background and reference checks revealed anything that would have suggested the unfortunate controversy that has unfolded,” he said. “This has been a difficult time for everyone. I accepted Coach Berger’s resignation in an effort for him to move on and for us to focus on the team and our 2020 season.”

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Berger, who graduated with a degree in history from Drury University, was asked by the student newspaper’s sports editor which three historical figures Berger would like to have dinner with. The story was a profile on Berger, who was officially announced as offensive coordinator by the school on Jan. 20.

“This is probably not going to get a good review, but I’m going to say Adolf Hitler,” Berger said, according to the interview. “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.”


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