Newly hired Grand Valley State football assistant suspended after praising Hitler in interview

(Grand Valley State University)
(Grand Valley State University)

Morris Berger, the newly hired offensive coordinator at Grand Valley State University, has been suspended for extolling the “leadership” of Adolf Hitler during an interview with the school’s student newspaper.

In the interview, published Jan. 23 by the Grand Valley Lanthorn, the student reporter notes Berger’s history degree and asks which three historical figures the coach would like to have dinner with. Berger’s first answer was Adolf Hitler. For real.

Here is the transcript from the interview:

KV: So you graduated from Drury with a degree in History, you’re a history guy. If you could have dinner with three historical figures, living or dead, who would they be? And I’m ruling out football figures.

MB: This is probably not going to get a good review, but I’m going to say Adolf Hitler. 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.

KV: The way he was able to get people to rally around him was crazy.

MB: Yeah, that’s definitely one. You have to go JFK, his experience with the country and being that he was a good president and everything. And this might sound crazy, but Christopher Columbus, the ability to go on the journey he was on and his emotion into the unknown. Think about putting yourself in the setting of that unknown, and then to take it all in as you arrive is crazy.

As Berger predicted — “this is not going to get a good review” — those comments did not sit well with the university. GVSU announced a suspension for Berger on Monday and said it would conduct a “thorough investigation” into the matter.

“The comments made by offensive coordinator Morris Berger, as reported in The Lanthorn student newspaper, do not reflect the values of Grand Valley State University,” the university said in a statement. “Berger has been suspended and the university is conducting a thorough investigation.”

Berger was announced as GVSU’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach on Jan. 20.

Berger spent the 2019 season as the tight ends coach at Texas State. Before that, Berger had a two-year stint as a quality control coach at Oklahoma State and spent three years as a graduate assistant at Missouri.

Grand Valley State is a Division II program based in Allendale, Michigan. The Lakers compete in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) and are coming off an 8-3 record in 2019. GVSU won the Division II national title in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006.

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