Parents, students protest firing of Copper Hills High football coach

Posted at 10:26 PM, Sep 24, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-25 00:26:39-04

WEST JORDAN -- Parents and students at Copper Hills High School protested, Wednesday, the firing of the assistant football coach.

The Jordan School District says the school's offensive line coach, John Cullen, was fired. The district also confirmed head football coach, John Teuscher, was suspended for two games.

The district won't say why the coaches were disciplined, but parents and players say Cullen lost his cool at last Friday’s homecoming football game, a tough loss that went down to the last minute.

Players say Cullen starting coaching at Copper Hills back in January, and was in his first season when he was fired.

Players say Cullen “freaked out” at Friday’s game, but nothing out of the ordinary.

“He freaked out on the field like every coach does. You know, bad call,” said offensive lineman Braxton Gardner. “That's about it.”

A group of parents and students assembled in the student parking lot Wednesday to fight for Cullen’s reinstatement. They said the punishment was far too severe for the infraction.

“Sure there was some hot-headedness, but nothing you wouldn't see on TV watching a college game,” said parent, Johanna Hoelscher.

“From day one, I saw nothing but professionalism from him. Kindness,” Hoelscher said. “He goes out of his way to make sure every player feels like a part of this team.”

A handful of students also came out in support of Cullen wearing t-shirts with the words, “Team Coach Cullen,” and “We will fight for the coaches who fought for us.”

“There's no reason he shouldn't be around,” said football player, Ryan Newman. “He's a mentor to us all.”

Players say Cullen apologized to the team Monday for his rant at the football game, the same day he was let go.

Cullen was a standout player on the University of Utah football team. According to, Cullen was the top junior college offensive lineman when he joined the Utes in 2010. In 2012, he was signed as a free agent by the New York Jets.