SALT LAKE CITY — Leaders in Utah’s Pacific Islander and football communities spoke out Wednesday, condemning recent biases allegedly perpetrated by university president Noelle Cockett while considering hiring Frank Maile as the next Aggies football coach, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.
Former longtime Utah and Weber State coach Ron McBride and BYU alum and Utah Jazz broadcaster Alema Harrington were among the leaders with NFL, college and high school football pedigrees or who are members of local government that signed a statement sent to The Salt Lake Tribune. The statement asked for USU and the state to admit their biases and address them.
“As members of Utah’s football community, proud Pacific Islanders, and friends and colleagues of Frank Maile,” it said, “these events cause great concern for us on several different levels.”
Cockett came under fire after players said she raised cultural and religious objections to hiring Maile — who is Polynesian and a Latter-day Saint — as the Aggies’ 29th head coach. The statements were reportedly made during a Dec. 8 video meeting the players’ leadership council had called with Cockett and athletic director John Hartwell to advocate for the hiring of Maile, who was serving his second stint as interim head coach. Maile played for USU and had been the Aggies’ defensive coordinator since 2016.
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