In The Arena: Douglass not the evil doer everyone out to make him

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Trotwood-Madison football coach Maurice Douglass

This was no shocker.

Trotwood-Madison found guilty of recruiting by the OHSAA.

People in Dayton have known it for over a year. Only difference is now it’s documented.

Thing is I don’t find myself upset with Trotwood-Madison. Call me crazy.


This was no shocker.

Trotwood-Madison found guilty of recruiting by the OHSAA.

People in Dayton have known it for over a year.

Only difference is now it’s documented.

Thing is I don’t find myself upset with Trotwood-Madison. Call me crazy. I can’t get mad at head coach Maurice Douglass or former offensive coordinator Jeremy Beckham. Not mad at the two ineligible seniors either. Just feel bad for them.

Sometimes the chase of a college scholarship ends in a wreck. This is one of those pursuits.

Lets get one thing straight, no one has ever accused Maurice Douglass of being a great football coach. If he was, Trotwood would be the two-time defending Division II state champions.

No…Douglass is a great recruiter – plain and simple. He is a great motivator, a great speaker and a great soothsayer.

Douglass is also great at getting kids to college. And that’s why I can’t be mad at him.

Much like Ted Ginn, Sr. at Glenville High School in Cleveland, Douglass often loses arguments before he gets to speak.

So let me speak for him.

Here’s some history.

Maurice Douglass is a hometown hero. He graduated from Trotwood-Madison and led the Rams to their only appearance in the state title game as a running back and defensive back in 1981. Trotwood dropped the Division II final to Cleveland Benedictine 28-7 at Akron’s Rubber Bowl. The Rams other three playoff appearances have all come with Douglass as head coach.

After playing college football at Kentucky, Douglass was an eighth round draft choice of the defending Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears in 1986. He made the roster and stuck for nine years. He played two years with the New York Giants before retiring in 1996 with 139 career games and six interceptions (one touchdown) on his resume.

Douglass, hired as the Rams head football coach in 2001, has done questionable stuff before.

In 1989, Douglass testified in front of a Federal jury that sports agents Norby Walters and Lloyd Bloom told him before the 1986 NFL Draft ''that somebody might break my legs.” That threat came after Douglass reneged on having the duo serve as his agents. Walters and Bloom had given Douglass $8,500 up to that point. Douglass and his new agents eventually paid back the sum and Walters and Bloom were found guilty of racketeering, conspiracy and mail fraud.

Douglass also starred as a male stripper for a time. To this day he wears sport coats with rhinestones.

So yeah, he abused the system.

But Douglass didn’t recruit for financial gain. And he certainly didn’t do it for state titles. No, Douglass – crazy as it sounds – did it for the kids.

He says so himself in his bio on the Trotwood football website.

“It's all about the kids,” Douglass writes.

And I believe him.

Maybe I’m way off base here, but in my eyes this coach truly cares too much.

His bio goes on to say his goal for the upcoming season is to “help 25 or more student athletes receive football scholarships during the 2008-2009 season.”

Doesn’t say anything about wanting to go undefeated, win the GWOC or win the state title.

It’s all about getting kids to the next level with Douglass and he’s damn good at it.

Since 2003, Trotwood has sent 76 players to college.

You’ll find former Rams on rosters at Michigan, Purdue, Michigan State, Colorado, Louisville, Pitt, Toledo and Bowling Green just to name a few. This year’s star senior, offensive lineman Chris Freeman – who has played ONE high school football game – has offers from Michigan, Florida, LSU, Penn State, Nebraska and Miami (Fla.) among others.

Personally, Douglass has always returned my calls promptly. And every coach will talk after a win, but there are few coaches who are as collected, opinionated and vocal after a loss than Douglass. You leave a conversation with him feeling like a friend, and honestly you probably are. He knows there’s another game, another day.

Some have criticized the OHSAA for being too lenient on Douglass with a three-week suspension and a two-year probation for the program that doesn’t keep the Rams out of the playoffs should they qualify.

OHSAA commissioner Dan Ross has said that the penalty will be stiffer should infractions occur again. Consider it a pass.

So think of Maurice Douglass what you will.

I know what I believe.

He’s lived the dream and he’s trying to get others a taste of it too.

No matter how blatant.

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