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Thursday, November 2

McQueen High School Football Coach Ken Dalton Suspended

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Well, it’s political season with plenty of scandal to go around just before Election Day…and so it is playoff season too. I guess playoffs cannot proceed this year in Reno without a football scandal as well. I have to climb upon the Soap Box for this one though. I’m REALLY PISSED, and just cannot let this one go by without opening my big mouth (which usually doesn’t win you any popularity contests), but hey…some things just need to be said.

Before I perch myself upon the Soap Box, let’s get this all clear and in the open. This is an “ongoing investigation”, and as usually goes, no one’s talking much and facts are scant. So, that being said…all I can give here is the best “hearsay” available, along with one blogger’s personal opinion of what’s out so far. Last time I checked though, America is still a free country and the freedom of speech is something bloggers enjoy tremendously. So what I’m giving in this post is my personal opinion, and nothing to be quoted as hard fact. I’m no more than a loyal McQueen parent with a senior son who is a starter on the football team.

Coach Ken Dalton, the one and only head football coach McQueen High School has ever had has been suspended with pay pending an investigation on allegations he struck one or more football players at school. He is not allowed on campus right now, and is to have no contact with any of his students until “official decisions” have been made by the school district. The McQueen Lancers head off to Minden, NV Friday night for the first round of playoff games to face Douglas High School. It is uncertain yet if Coach Dalton will be present to lead his team in this game.

Here’s how the story goes so far… Last weekend, at the UNR (University of Nevada Reno) Wolf Pack football game, some minor age football players from McQueen High School got busted drinking at a tailgate party. The story has it that the underage drinking wasn’t even well concealed; the kids were drinking beer straight from a bottle. They were also supposedly engaging in some rather unsavory personal conduct by heckling and throwing things at passers by. Supposedly, the law cited a couple of the kids for MIC (minor in consumption). At school on Monday, allegedly, Coach Ken Dalton had a confrontation with a couple of the kids over how STUPID their conduct was, and slapped one or more of them in the face. No one knows if the parents of these kid(s) are a part of the complaint, or it’s just the school district’s usual immediate “action to avoid the preverbal lawsuit”.

Here’s where my opinion comes in, and my strong conviction about this whole matter. Coach Dalton began coaching McQueen High when the school opened in 1982. He is now 60 years old and has a winning record of 209-61. He is the most winning high school coach in Nevada. He’s lead the team to FIVE state championships, and NINE regional championships (1990-2002). Four of his seasons, the team went undefeated. Chris Carr, #23 and a rookie this year for the Oakland Raiders was a player on one of these state championship teams.

Can Ken Dalton be a bit self centered and arrogant at times?...yes he can be. Is Ken Dalton a HUGE disciplinarian and does he demand the best of his players?...yes he does. Has his attitude and rigidness placed him on my personal little shit list a time or two over the years?...yet it has. Do I love and admire Ken Dalton?...yes I do. I am so glad that my son has had the privilege to be a part of the Lancer football program. I recently attended a football booster meeting in which Coach Dalton was NOT present. He had left town for ONE DAY to attend his father-in-law’s funeral (who was also a coach). This was the ONLY booster meeting the man ever missed in 24 years. He is tirelessly dedicated to this school and his football team. He has set the standard for McQueen’s Tradition of Winning. He has taken hundreds of little boys and turned them into men before they leave high school to enter the REAL WORLD. He is a Harvard graduate and teaches business law. (Several McQueen coaches attended Harvard ). He is a father, a husband, and a really decent man. He sets incredibly high standards for himself, and doesn’t ask of any of his players less than he is willing to give. His decisions are hard sometimes, and everybody will never agree with one man.

I know it’s a RULE that teachers are not supposed to touch the children anymore. They also cannot hug them or touch them in any way, the kids cannot pray anymore at school, since “One Nation Under God” just might offend someone, they cannot even say the Pledge of Allegiance anymore. The boys cannot wear caps; no liquid paper allowed anymore, the stupid list goes on and on. If these allegations are true, I’m sorry for Coach Dalton that he broke a rule, and had a momentary lapse of good reason according to the liberal rules our schools have now dictated so that “Little Johnny’s” self esteem is not damaged. However…what about the rules that these students broke…even laws, not just rules.

It’s not a God given right to be a student athlete. It’s a privilege. In a city the size of Reno, NV, these high school athletes are in the public eye a lot. Our local television stations play their highlights and interview them. Our newspapers print their accolades. Especially, at a high school with a record like the one of McQueen, these kids should be held to just a little higher standard. These children were acting out, and were an embarrassment to the reputation of our high school, our community, and our city. If it is true and if you ask me…they had it coming. This kid(s) Mama should have been smacking him on one side while Dalton was smacking him on the other, and his Daddy should have been behind him with a stiff boot up his rear end! Even if Dalton did what he has been accused of, it was a tap. These kids aren’t HURT! These kids get beat up every day in practice and on the field of play. One little slap on the face by a football coach isn’t going to do a thing but hopefully teach them a lesson in manhood.

As I said before, I have no idea where the parents of these children stand on this issue. I know if it was me and my son…I might not be happy with Coach Dalton, I might have a meeting with him to state that we can handle our own discipline in our own household, but hey…if my kid acts up like that, he might just have it coming. I was raised in the South; my Mamma & Daddy would have whooped my butt in a second for such behavior. I would have been lucky to get off with a mere slap to the face. I would like to see these parents call off this suspension and have a sit down with Dalton and both admit where they might have been wrong, or thank the man for caring enough about their sons to show them a hard line. Teenagers (mine included on occasion) have always, and will always do some stupid things; these kids owe our school, their parents, and themselves an apology. So may Ken Dalton owe the parents an apology. All parties involved need to move forward and have a learning and growing experience here. This man does not deserve to be suspended; his career tarnished, and not be able to coach his team into the playoffs. This should be a simple matter settled between adults in a civil conversation.
Until this whole mess is sorted out, Coach Jim Snelling (one of my very favorite coaches on the McQueen staff) has been appointed as interim head coach. If Dalton does not make it to Friday’s game, the Lancers will be in excellent hands with Coach Snelling. Good luck Lancers!

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