I hand it to Michigan Wide Receivers Coach & Recruiting Coordinator Jeff Hecklinski for making a mistake but then handling an awkward situation with class. However, a sampling of Michigan fans’ reactions shows that they aren’t nearly as classy as their coach.
One of my favorite Michigan fans, isportsweb’s own Rob White, even over-reacted to this story. And that is an unusual thing. Read the details here.
Ok, done reading that?
The coaches from Michigan, Michigan State, Wayne State, Alma and Sienna Heights were part of a FORUM in which they were talking to a room full of high school coaches. From what I can tell, there was a misunderstanding on the part of Hecklinski as to the format of the forum.
MSU football coach, Mark Dantonio gave a BRIEF introduction speech and even spoke RESPECTULLY of the Michigan football program. When Hecklinski got up for his turn, he also spoke RESPECTFULLY of the MSU program. Unfortunately, he didn’t understand that he only had a few minute introduction and then the panel would discuss the issues at hand.
After diving into a detailed explanation of UM’s recruiting process, Hecklinski was interrupted by Dantonio. Instead of allowing his arch-rival to gain a competitive advantage over his program by addressing these coaches for much longer than he was allowed to, Dantonio summoned the rest of the panel to the stage to go through the issues TOGETHER.
Hecklinski made a mistake. He owned up to it. He said said, “look, I understand my place.” He knew that he made a mistake. He thought he had a 15-minute window. He was wrong. “There’s no reason to rehash it,” Hecklinski said. But his fans didn’t get the message. Twitter is ablaze with ignorant comments from Michigan fans bashing Dantonio.
Hecklinski said that his job was to “make sure I did not interrupt or take away from that process or take away from what the podium was for.”
I’ve got respect for how the Wolverine coach responded. Not so much for the Wolverine fans.
To Michigan fans everywhere, try this out: reverse the roles and see how you would have reacted. Pretend an MSU coach doesn’t follow the rules of the forum and a UM coach lets him know about it. I’m pretty sure you would have been ok with it.