WEST JORDAN — Parents were still making their way to the Copper Hills gymnasium when head football coach John Teuscher wrapped up what had to be one of the shortest parent-coach meetings in history.
“The only real story here is the group of young men that are preparing to play a football game on Friday night against a very good Jordan team,” said Teuscher, who was suspended for two games by principal Todd Quarnberg for unsportsmanlike behavior after last Friday’s game. “That’s the only thing that matters.”
Visibly agitated, Teuscher used a microphone to address about 100 parents Wednesday night. He spoke for less than five minutes and asked parents to support Quarnberg’s decision to suspend him and fire assistant coach John Cullen.
“I’ve talked with coach Cullen, and the outpouring of support that we’ve both felt has been unbelievable. Unbelievable,” he said pausing. “Thank you.”
Teuscher said it was Quarnberg’s decision to suspend the first-year head coach and fire Cullen, but he didn’t elaborate on why.
“We respect his authority to make that decision,” Teuscher said.
Jordan District officials said they also support the principal’s decision.
"He wants to hold his students, coaches and employees, in and outside the classroom, to a high level of conduct," said district communications manager Sandy Reisgraf, who pointed out Copper Hills won one of the Utah High School Activities Association's five-star sportsmanship awards last year.
She declined to elaborate on why Teuscher was suspended, except to say it was "sportsmanship related."
"(Teuscher) met with the team today and he apologized for his conduct," Reisgraf said. "I have to give credit to Todd for having the courage to take action, to stand up and say we're going to hold ourselves to a high standard, maybe even a higher standard, because they are role models, and not just for the players but for the people at the game."
Kevin Dustin, UHSAA assistant director over football, said they issued a one-game suspension of Teuscher after officials filed a post-game report on an incident involving the head coach after Copper Hills' emotional 23-20 loss to Snow Canyon last Friday.
Officials don’t always file reports, but “sometimes a report is warranted.”
“It’s really kind of uncommon, but sometimes it’s simple things like the field needs to be better marked,” Dustin said. “And sometimes it’s something like this. As a result of that, we issued a one-game suspension. The principal, it’s my understanding, was well ahead of us because he was on-site, and he was actually able to deal with it before us.”
The principal suspended Teuscher for two games — double the UHSAA penalty — but he will be allowed to coach the team’s practices.
It is not known what led to Cullen’s firing. The former University of Utah lineman was the team’s offensive line coach.
Parents seemed confused by Teuscher’s brevity Wednesday night, but most refused to talk.
Teuscher said he hoped the parents would take the passion they’d shown for the coaching staff and throw it behind the players and the school.
“I know you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t care,” he said. “Moving forward, we don’t need to do anything else except get ready to play Friday night.”
He ended with "Go Grizz," after which he left without taking any questions.