LOGAN, Utah — Utah State football assistant coach Frank Maile issued a statement Sunday in response to the reports that university president Noelle Cockett raised concerns over his cultural and religious background when players lobbied for him to stay on as the Aggies permanent head coach, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.
Maile said he was not aware of the videoconference that was reportedly attended by Cockett, USU athletic director John Hartwell and the football team’s leadership council. He also said the team’s leadership council told him he wasn’t considered for the head coaching job at Utah State “because of concerns that my religion and Pacific Islander culture would negatively impact the University’s future football program.”
Maile is Polynesian and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“As disheartened as I am to learn that this kind of religious and cultural bias exists [because I am Polynesian] at Utah State University, I am equally heartbroken for my players — many of whom are seniors who were preparing for the last game of their collegiate experience,” Maile said in the statement released to media outlets. “I want to express my upmost respect and admiration for their decision to stand up for what they believe in — and I’m truly honored that they would stand up for me.”