Former Super Bowl-Winning NFL Coach in Hot Water for Berating High School Referees


The image of former Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy storming along the sidelines yelling at referees at an NFL game is not unusual. But the image of McCarthy storming along the sidelines yelling at refs at a high school basketball game, well, that’s not something you’d expect to see.

But McCarthy was not there as a coach, he was there a parent — and he apparently was not happy with some of the calls. Hey, many of us have been there.

It happened Tuesday night at his stepson’s high school playoff game in Wisconsin. His stepson’s team, Notre Dame Academy, lost in the state regional tournament to Pulaski High School by one point. The defeat ended Notre Dame’s season.

After the game, McCarthy followed the referees toward the exit and appeared to be berating them, as video from WTMJ-TV shows.

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WLUK-TV reported that a formal complaint about the incident was filed to the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association.

“This parent chose to follow the officials and berate them, which is clearly unacceptable,” Janel Batten, Pulaski’s athletic director, told WLUK.

School officials confirmed to WLUK that the man in the video who had words with the refs and then followed them out to keep arguing was McCarthy.

“Some things were said, some language was used that we don’t want in our gym, unsportsmanlike language,” Batten said.

A WLUK reporter asked Batten if she had ever seen a situation where a parent walked after an official like that.

“Not here and not in my time as an athletic director,” Batten said.

“Without these great officials, we can’t have great sports, right?” she said. “So that is important, so we’ve taken some measures in our conference, specifically at our school, we do things maybe that are a little different. We always escort these people to the court or to our stadium.”

One of the refs described it to the local Fox news outlet as a “verbal tirade” and an “unfortunate situation.”

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Notre Dame Academy Athletic Director Steph Mathu provided a statement to WLUK.

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“We have been contacted by the WIAA regarding last night’s basketball game, and we are currently looking further into this situation,” Mathu said. “We will continue to stress the importance of sportsmanship and respect to our students, parents, fans, and community members.”

Green Bay fired McCarty on Dec. 2 after the Packers lost to the Arizona Cardinals and fell to 4-7-1. The Packers finished the season under interim coach Joe Philbin with a record of 6-9-1.

McCarthy coached for 13 years in Green Bay and compiled a record of 125-77-2. The Packers made the playoffs nine times in his tenure and won the Super Bowl for the 2010 season.

McCarthy was interested in the New York Jets opening, but after that went to Adam Gase, he said he was going to take off the 2019 season and spend time with his family.

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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