Players convinced ETSU basketball coach Jason Shay was pressured to resign following kneeling controversy
Shay and his players were criticized by some Republican lawmakers for the team’s decision to kneel during the national anthem before a game in February
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WVLT/WJHL/AP) - Jason Shay has resigned after one season as head coach of the men’s basketball team at East Tennessee State University.
Athletic director Scott Carter said Shay told him earlier Tuesday of his intention to resign.
“I fully respect Coach Shay’s decision and have accepted his resignation,” Carter said in a statement. “Coach Shay is part of our championship history at ETSU, and I thank him and his family for the effort they have given to our university.
Shay and his players were criticized, including by some Republican Tennessee state lawmakers, for the team’s decision to kneel during the national anthem before a game in February.
“All this about us kneeling and Coach Shay supporting us through all that - people should want a coach who stands behind his players through anything,” ETSU guard and former Karns standout Jordan Coffin told WJHL.
“I feel like that’s not fair. Life isn’t fair, but for this to play a part in a coach who cares about and supports his players - for that to be part of why he has to resign - I don’t want any part of that,” said Coffin.
Shay spent six seasons with ETSU, his first five as an assistant and one as head coach. He replaced former Tennessee assistant Steve Forbes who left for Wake Forest last year, but Shay said he decided it was in the best interest of himself and his family and also the ETSU program for him to resign.
“This past year has been extremely challenging for me in many different ways,” Shay said. It is the right time for a new challenge and an opportunity to reset my personal and professional goals.”
ETSU President Brian Noland addressed the controversy surrounding Shay’s resignation in a letter to students, faculty and staff Friday night.
The Bucs went 13-12 under Shay after they won 30 games and won the Southern Conference Tournament championship under Forbes.
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