Coach says team played with honor

Updated: January 26, 2009, 9:14 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

DALLAS -- The coach of a Texas high school basketball team that beat another team 100-0 was fired Sunday, the same day he sent an e-mail to a newspaper saying he will not apologize "for a wide-margin victory when my girls played with honor and integrity."

On its Web site last week, the Covenant School of Dallas, a private Christian school, posted a statement regretting the outcome of its Jan. 13 shutout win over Dallas Academy. "It is shameful and an embarrassment that this happened. This clearly does not reflect a Christlike and honorable approach to competition," said the statement, signed by Kyle Queal, head of school, and board chair Todd Doshier.

Covenant coach Micah Grimes, who has been criticized for letting the game get so far out of hand, made it clear in the e-mail Sunday to The Dallas Morning News that he does not agree with his school's assessment.

"In response to the statement posted on The Covenant School Web site, I do not agree with the apology or the notion that the Covenant School girls basketball team should feel embarrassed or ashamed," Grimes wrote in the e-mail, according to the newspaper. "We played the game as it was meant to be played. My values and my beliefs would not allow me to run up the score on any opponent, and it will not allow me to apologize for a wide-margin victory when my girls played with honor and integrity."

Queal would not say if Grimes was fired because of the coach's statement, but told the newspaper that Grimes "now only represents himself."

A phone number for Grimes could not be located by The Associated Press. The Dallas Morning News said Grimes did not respond to its repeated e-mail requests for a telephone interview.

Queal did not immediately return a phone message left at his home Sunday afternoon by the AP. There was no answer at a number listed for Doshier.

A parent who attended the game said Covenant continued to make 3-pointers -- even in the fourth quarter. She praised the Covenant players but said spectators and an assistant coach were cheering wildly as their team edged closer to 100 points.

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Covenant was up 59-0 at halftime.

Dallas Academy has eight girls on its varsity team and about 20 girls in its high school. It is winless over the past four seasons. The academy boasts of its small class sizes and specializes in teaching students struggling with "learning differences," such as short attention spans or dyslexia.

There is no mercy rule in girls' basketball that shortens the game or permits the clock to continue running when scores become one-sided. There is, however, "a golden rule" that should have applied in this contest, Edd Burleson, the director of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, said last week. Both schools are members of this association, which oversees private school athletics in Texas.

The story has received national attention, and the Dallas Academy team has been recognized for refusing to give up during the lopsided contest.

Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma said on Monday that he's not sure how he would have balanced good sportsmanship with competitive instincts.

"When you get a big lead and you have players in who don't usually score, do you tell them, 'don't try to score?' he told ESPN. "I have never heard of 100-0. And I have no idea what I would have done. It's a little different in college because of the shot clock. ... I would venture to say that how he approached the game, during the game, after the game, the stance, probably got him fired as much as the score."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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