Popular Michigan prep soccer coach fired for using 'an inappropriate word'

Prep Rally
Members of the Plymouth (Mich.) Salem girls' soccer team protested coach Scott Duhl's firing at a board meeting. (Twitter)
Members of the Plymouth (Mich.) Salem girls' soccer team protested coach Scott Duhl's firing at a board meeting. (Twitter)

A Michigan community crowded a school board meeting this week to demand answers over the firing of a popular prep soccer coach, according to the Detroit Free Press, but it doesn't appear they received any.

While the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools system would not comment on the dismissal of Plymouth (Mich.) Salem High soccer coach Scott Duhl, a parent of one player offered her angle.

“The unconfirmed reason of why coach Duhl was dismissed, because I don’t think it’s really clear, was due to an inappropriate word, a male body part, in a sentence, as an adjective," Karina Morley told the Free Press. "Not specifically calling anyone that term.” The word will come to you with a little imagination.

Morley and more than 100 supporters, including players who donned t-shirts with Duhl's name written on the back above their numbers, filled the Plymouth-Canton Board of Education Office, according to the report. A number of players and respected members of the soccer community spoke on Duhl's behalf.

"As a female athlete, I appreciate the fact that he doesn’t treat us as girls but, instead, as athletes," Salem girls' soccer co-captain Hayley Rogers told the board. “Sometimes he uses slang or street talk, but that is part of who he is. He is not of poor character. Actually, he is the opposite. He is honest, passionate about his work and has great integrity with a proven track record."

Duhl played four seasons at Salem in the late 1990s, leading the Rocks to two state finals appearances and capturing First Team All-State honors as a senior in 1999, according to his online coaching bio for the Michigan Wolves-Hawks Soccer Club. He later starred at Western Michigan University.

After a decade as an assistant, he took over his alma mater's boys' soccer program from longtime coach Ed McCarthy this past fall and promptly led Salem to a Division I state semifinal appearance. His girls' team reached the district final in 2013, and the start of this season has been postponed due to weather.

The controversy came to light as the result of a family's complaint over their daughter being cut from the team, a longtime member of the Plymouth-Canton soccer community told the Free Press. Duhl reportedly learned of his firing after school officials alerted members of the team.

The school board apparently did not announce Duhl's replacement at the meeting. Meanwhile, the Rocks have a scheduled game against Ann Arbor (Mich.) Pioneer on Friday evening.

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