Benton Harbor football coach apologizes for comments

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (WOOD) — The coach credited with turning around Benton Harbor High School’s football team apologized Tuesday for some questionable comments made in a group text.

WNDU, the NBC affiliate out of South Bend, Ind. reports that screenshots of the texts show coach Elliot Uzelac allegedly responding to a photo of a black student standing in front of a car by writing, “How much drugs did he sell to rent that,” and adding later, “Our local drug dealers are doing well.”

A screen capture shows the text by Benton Harbor coach Elliot Uzelac drawing criticism.

In a Tuesday evening release, the district said that Uzelac admitted to the superintendent that he texted some of the statements to fellow coaches.

“I do regret and apologize for texting comments that were clearly inappropriate. Under no circumstances were these statements meant to be taken seriously. It has never been my intention to offend the Benton Harbor students or community,” Uzelac said, according to the district.

Administrators and the Board of Education say they are considering what will happen next.

“This misstep is an unfortunate blemish on Coach Uzelac’s  record of commitment and positive relationships with our Benton Harbor students,” Superintendent Shelly Walker said in a statement.

Uzelac, a former coach for Western Michigan University, the University of Michigan, Navy and in the NFL, took over the Benton Harbor team in 2015. Before his arrival, the team had lost all but four of its previous 72 games. His two seasons as head coach have both been winning seasons and both extended into the playoffs.