TAMPA, Fla. — As national unrest escalates across the country over the death of George Floyd while in police custody, local college coaches in Florida have joined the chorus of high-profile sports figures around the nation calling for change.
Dan Mullen released a short statement, pledging to support his team and taking note of the coronavirus pandemic that is still occurring.
“During these difficult times, we need unity, compassion and a love for each other more than ever,” Mullen said. “As we slowly return to the freedoms in our daily lives from this global pandemic, my hope is that we can work together towards a society with freedom, opportunity and social justice for all.”
First-year USF head coach Jeff Scott tweeted a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., adding his own statement. He ended with a Bible verse asking people to love one another.
“I have a heavy heart for the many people in our country who are truly hurting right now,” Scott wrote. “I also can’t help but think about our players, coaches and their families who must deal with the racism and social injustice that exists today.”
New Florida State head coach Mike Norvell shared a lengthy statement from Bucs great Tony Dungy and added his own thoughts.
“It’s heartbreaking seeing the events that have taken place throughout our country this week,” Norvell wrote, “as well as the countless number of injustices done out of hate, discrimination, and ignorance throughout my lifetime.”
Miami coach Manny Diaz tweeted that he had Coral Gables Police Chief Ed Hudak Jr. speak with his players.
Diaz posted a photo of Floyd, adding, “We stand together in the condemnation of the actions of the officers that led to the death of George Floyd while under custody.”
UCF football coach Josh Heupel released a statement of his own.
“This is not an isolated incident,” Heupel said, “and there needs to be justice delivered for so many young black men who have been unfairly targeted in a country where racism is still with us.”
As tensions increased near USF’s campus Saturday night with the looting and damaging of local businesses, more Bulls coaches responded to the national crisis on social media.
USF men’s basketball coach Brian Gregory:
Men’s assistant basketball coach Tom Herrion:
USF women’s basketball coach Jose Fernandez:
USF football tight ends coach Joey King: