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Benton Harbor football coach apologizes for questionable remarks in texts

Posted at 4:22 PM, May 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-17 16:22:34-04

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – The football coach at Benton Harbor High School has apologized for making questionable remarks in a group text message.

WSJM Radio in Berrien County reports that Coach Elliot Uzelac reportedly responded to pictures of a black student standing in front of a car. According to the report, the coach said in one message, “How much drugs did he sell to rent that?” and in another, “Our local drug dealers are doing well.”

Uzelac became the head coach of the Tigers in 2015, coming out of retirement, and led them to their first-ever playoff appearance.  He has previously coached in both college and the NFL.

FOX 17 received a statement from Benton Harbor Area Schools:

The Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education is aware of statements made by it’s head football coach, Elliot Uzelac. Benton Harbor Superintendent Dr. Shelly Walker has spoken to Coach Uzelac who has admitted to texting the statements in question to some of his other coaches.

In conversation with Superintendent Walker, Coach Uzelac said, “I do regret and apologize for texting comments that were clearly inappropriate. Under no circumstances were these statements meant to be taken seriously. It has never been my intention to offend the Benton Harbor students or community.”

At this time Dr. Walker and the Board of Education are considering next steps. Coach Uzelac has brought Tiger Pride back to the Benton Harbor football team under an agreement with the Board of Education in which he volunteers his time to coach their football team. “This misstep is an unfortunate blemish on Coach Uzelac’s record of commitment and positive relationships with our Benton Harbor students,” Dr. Walker stated.