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

12 Responses

  1. Andy Perna says:

    Good for him. too many parents do not get involved. Officiating has become a joke and most importantly, traumatic brain injuries as we are seeing are all too common. These cheap hits in all sports and the constant abuse of the brain are causing deaths now and as we are disocvering later, in the form of suicide and illness.

    As a parent he did the right thing, and it should not affect his job or blemish a stellar career and reputation. Wake up people.

  2. bulldogs5 says:

    Mr. Ecke, you should have knocked the referee out of his shoes. There is nothing worse to me in a contact sport when a clearly illegal head shot is not called. Next time, throw a bench on the field and dig up some grass in classic Lou P fashion

  3. Dan says:

    Is there more to this story? It doesn’t seem that he should have lost his coaching job based on what I read above.

  4. Dan –
    Probably. Always is, isn’t there.

  5. Mike Ditka says:

    Sounds like when Addazio was the coach and he’s not doing to bad !!

  6. jucy lucy says:

    Sports are too important to some people. Some people FORCE their children to participate in activities in which it is highly likely for them to become injured. Sports are not even fun or resectable any more. i dont think this guy did the wrong thing someone has to say something some time. I never forced my children to play sports nor do we Consider veiwing them a priority. as i said they are supposed to be “fun” what happenned?

  7. Weasel says:

    Two bad calls by the official.

    Parents get too heated, but this just seems like blind and stupid became cowardly and stupid.

    A mess. But not a grounds for termination mess. Something else is up and it ain’t in Glastonbury, it’s in Cheshire.

  8. another fan says:

    where do you think the term “Soccer Mom” came from….from people that act like this guy (Ecke)at sporting events, probably acted like a jerk,Sounds like he may need some anger management classes.reminds me of another coach that can pack a punch.Those refs may need glasses too.SCC Cheshire boy,figures…

  9. dave k says:

    J.V officials are J.V. officials for a reason, they lack experience. Ecke should know that being a coach. Somehow It seems there is more to this, did Ecke also vent his rage at the alleged guilty Glastonbury player? J.V. coach? There is a placard at every high school facility concerning fans and sportsmanship, Ecke should read it.

  10. Jake says:

    As a father he did the right thing. Sounds to me like Cheshire may be using it as an excuse to get rid of him. When was the last time CHS won a state championship? There is your answer.

  11. Smart says:

    This guy did the right thing. There was also some foul play involving the athletic director and some outside sources concerned with cheshire high school football. They decided they would get rid of him because he was too loud for them. If you look at cheshires team the past two years they have declined heavily and have lost all respect from other programs. Funny how firing a guy who put 24 years of his life into the program changes the team that much. Shame on CHS and their athletic director.

  12. knows fciac says:

    an excuse to get rid of the coach. i don’t blame the guy for flipping out- that was his son !!! give the guy a break.