Lowell High School coach Noel Dean wrote EMU coach Chris Creighton to tell him he wasn’t welcome on campus following the school’s cuts of wrestling, softball, men’s swimming and diving and women’s tennis.
The letter, printed in full by Michigan Grappler, doesn’t place the blame on Creighton for the cuts. Instead, it blamed EMU president James Smith for the decision.
I can’t stand by and not take a stand against what is happening at EMU with the wrestling program. Wrestling contributes too much to the fabric of our schools systems in Michigan (a guy from South Dakota might not get it), but if I stick to the facts on this. wrestling is only a bone to keep people happy FOR NOW. They are coming for you next.
If this goes through, you and your staff will not be allowed in any one of our buildings. I won’t speak for the others copied in this email but I wanted them to see my position.
The letter then ends by Dean saying to Creighton that “you are a good man but, you may be at the wrong institution.”
Creighton told the Detroit Free Press that he wanted to talk to Dean before he commented publicly on the letter. Creighton has not signed any players from Dean’s high school during his tenure as EMU’s coach.
Eastern Michigan is cutting the sports because of budget issues and says the reduction will save the school approximately $2.4 million over the next school year. EMU’s athletic director Scott Wetherbee told the Free Press earlier in the week that he felt “handcuffed” by the money problems and even hinted that he may not be at EMU had he known the scope of the school’s budget problems.
“I feel handcuffed,” said Wetherbee, who was hired eight months ago to replace Heather Lyke after Lyke left EMU to become the athletic director at the University of Pittsburgh. “I walked into a terrible situation. I knew the budget was bad. Didn’t know how bad it was. Thought I could come in a conquering hero and generate revenue so we didn’t have to do this. This should have been done a long time ago, but I’ll own it now. Would I have come here if I knew I’d be sitting here 8 months later? I don’t really know.”
Lyke is running Pitt’s search to hire a new basketball coach after the school fired Kevin Stallings.
Eastern Michigan’s football program has made great strides under Creighton. After seven wins in four seasons from 2012-15, EMU has won 12 games over the past two seasons.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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