A Michigan college football coach who was suspended for praising Adolf Hitler and calling him a “great leader” announced his resignation on Thursday. Morris Berger was hired as Grand Valley State University’s football offensive coordinator on Jan. 20. “I mistakenly communicated something absurd,” Berger wrote in his resignation letter. “I failed myself, my parents, and this university,” adding, “The answer I attempted to give does not align with the values instilled in me by my parents, nor represent what I stand for or believe in.” On Jan. 23, the coach was interviewed by the university’s student newspaper, Grand Valley Lanthorn, during which he said that he would choose to have dinner with Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. “This is probably not going to get a good review, but I’m going to say Adolf Hitler,” Berger told the sports editor, Kellen Voss. “It was obviously very sad and he had bad motives, but the way he was able to lead was second-to-none. How he rallied a group and a following, I want to know how he did that. Bad intentions of course, but you can’t deny he wasn’t a great leader.”
Lanthorn Editor-in-Chief Nick Moran told the Detroit Free Press that a representative for the university’s athletic department asked the paper’s staff to remove the Hitler comments. In an editor’s note on the original article, Moran wrote that Berger’s comments were “mistakenly removed” and the story was republished with a “direct transcription of the full, recorded interview. “I recognize that I cannot undo the hurt and the embarrassment I have caused,” Berger said in the letter.