Ecke on incident: I probably overreacted, but I was protecting my son

Cheshire football coach Mark Ecke

Mark Ecke said his reaction to a viscous and illegal hit on his son during a junior varsity lacrosse game at Glastonbury is the reason why he was escorted out of the game by three Glastonbury police officers on May 3.

The incident ultimately led to Ecke’s suspension as head coach of the Cheshire football team by Superintendent Greg Florio.

The Cheshire Herald reported that Ecke was asked to resign, but refused.

He now will have a chance to defend himself at a yet-to-be determined Board of Education hearing. According to the Record-Journal of Meriden, Florio is recommending Ecke be fired.

Ecke, who’s been the head coach at Cheshire high school for 17 years, declined to discuss the suspension or his future as football coach with Connecticut Post. However, he said he was compelled to defend his actions when the news broke via Board of Education chairman Gerald Whittingham Friday.

“Whatever happens with my future as a coach at Cheshire High, it doesn’t matter,” Ecke told Connecticut Post Friday evening. “For me, my family is my first priority. This was about my son and I’m very protective of him. That’s what this was about.”

According to Ecke, he was standing on the lacrosse sidelines on the opposite side of the team benches with other parents when his freshman son, Tucker, was blindsided by what amounted to a helmet-to-helmet hit.

“It was among one of the worst hits I’ve ever seen in lacrosse,” said Ecke, who maintains he never entered the field of play. “I’ve been involved in lacrosse for 15 years. I’ve been a player. I’ve been a coach I’ve taken officiating courses. The official didn’t call a blatant illegal hit.

“That’s what got me. That’s what brought this all about. And as a father, watching this happen, I got upset.”

The hit, Ecke said, caused him to scream at an official for what he said was about “10 or 15” seconds before he went to attend to his injured son, who had “staggered” back to his team’s bench.

“Anybody who’s seen me coach know I can get a little crazy and I probably overreacted,” he said. “I’m a bigger guy and I can be intimidating. I probably yelled more than I should have and I regret the it went down the way it did.

“But this was my son.

Ecke said Tucker Ecke likely suffered a concussion. He has spent some time at Yale-New Haven hospital.

“I’m at work now and he’s at the hospital and we’re trying to figure out why he can’t feel his lower leg,” said Ecke, who is a sergeant for the Cheshire Police Department.

After the hit, and Ecke’s tirade, play was stopped and a trainer arrived. After about “20 to 25 minutes Ecke said “the Glastonbury JV coach came up to me. He asked me how my son was and then said, ‘You know you have to go.’

“I said, ‘OK.’ That when I saw the three policemen coming over to me. They were rolling their eyes. They couldn’t beleive they had to do this.”

Ecke said he didn’t cause any fuss and agreed to leave the premises with the policemen and his son. He said he never talked to the official.

“The official decided I was out of control, he didn’t want me there,” Ecke siad. “That was fine. I left.”

Sean Patrick Bowley