MATTAWAN, Mich.– For nearly three decades, the Mattawan boys’ varsity basketball team has been led by Coach Dan Hoff. But his run on the court has come to an end after administrators fired him Friday after some allegations were brought to the schools attention.
Assistant Superintendent Bill Disch said they’re “taking the basketball program in a new direction” and next year they will have a new varsity basketball coach. Dan Hoff will still hold his position as an English and French teacher at the High School though.
When word spread of him no longer being the coach, support for Hoff started to roll in. A Facebook page called “I Support Dan Hoff” was created and by Monday evening more than 2,000 had liked it. It was filled with comments from those who played for Hoff or had him as a teacher. One after another they talked about how Hoff was a mentor, a great coach and just someone who left a lasting impression on so many young lives in the Mattawan community.
Disch said “this was a very difficult decision to make and we made it with the best interest of the district in mind.” He goes on to say “he is a good person there’s no disputing that but to go in the details at this point we’re just not free to do that.”
Disch says this isn’t the first time questions have been raised, “back in 1993 there were some issues raised about Mr. Hoff’s coaching style and the effect on the program.”
Coach Greg Saunders though, just doesn’t see it that way. Saunders played under Hoff in 1989 and for the past 17 years has been a coach with the district; currently he’s the freshman basketball coach.
“I’ve observed as his (Hoff’s) assistant that after every practice he’ll get the guys together and kind of recap and say hey this is why we said this and this is why we’re doing this, he takes his responsibly to make the players the best they can be very seriously.”
Coach Saunders says the administration was made aware of some concerns that Hoff wasn’t caring for his players and was overly aggressive, but he says he’s never seen anything wrong “I have never seen him do anything that was inappropriate towards a player or student, referee or opposing coach.”
Coach Saunders says Hoff poured his heart and soul into the basketball program at Mattawan, starting youth basketball programs, summer camps and leagues. He says Hoff had a kind of dedication like nobody else and things really will never be the same.