The announcement of four Arizona NJCAA junior colleges closing the doors on football programs was bad news for junior college players, administrators and coaches across the nation.
For Phoenix, Glendale, Scottsdale and Mesa community colleges, all part of the Maricopa County Community College District in Arizona, 2018 will be the last season on the gridiron, with financial and educational concerns cited as to why the four prominent programs will be discontinued, which was announced Monday, two days before national signing day.
Coaches across the country voiced their dismay at the announcement on Twitter on Monday night, before it unravelled into name-calling and infighting.
Arizona Western head coach Tom Minnick took issue with an email that Garden City Community College football assistant Caleb Young sent out to high school head coaches in Arizona, in which he said that any players signing at Arizona schools on Feb. 7 — national signing day — should know the situation, and consider GCCC is an alternate option.
Minnick wrote on Twitter, “Snakes in Kansas,” with a screenshot of the email Young sent to high school coaches, and another email that GCCC head coach Jeff Sims sent to college coaches, offering his sympathies to the coaches and players in the program, and advertising a job the Broncbusters currently have open on the football staff.
“To all my recruits and football family,” Minnick wrote on Twitter. “There are no plans for Arizona Western college dropping football. Don’t let the snakes out there keep telling you lies about us. They just wanna be us champions…”
Arizona Western and Garden City last played in the 2016 NJCAA championship, when Garden City won 22-19. An attempt to reach Minnick for comment was unsuccessful.
“It’s really hard on coaches (to lose jobs),” Sims said of why he sent the email to the community colleges’ staffs. “When there’s openings, you want to let people know so maybe you can get a solid person to come be part of your program.”
Sims said the same reasoning was used for why Young sent the email to high school coaches.
“I didn’t see anything wrong with the email at all,” Sims said. “I think some people are sensitive right now. I also think the blowback (on Twitter) came from the same people who bash on Kansas JUCOs and call us snakes and things like that.”
Minnick did not just criticize Garden City on Twitter on Tuesday. He also argued with Independence head coach Jason Brown, who was briefly the offensive coordinator at GCCC in 2015, prior to the start of the season.
Though the entire Twitter conversation between Brown and Minnick was unavailable to read by Tuesday morning, likely due to deleted tweets, some tweets were still available, such as Minnick calling Brown a chicken.
Brown told Minnick to come play Independence next season, and get the “ass whipping contest that we give out.”
Later, Brown tweeted: “My nuts are hurting from everyone swinging from them! Minnick at AZ Western wants to post tweets and then block me… I love it!”
On Tuesday afternoon, Brown tweeted an apology.
“I would like to apologize to the Pirate nation for my actions on Twitter last night as they aren’t a reflection of who I am or what I represent,” he said in the tweet. “We are highly competitive people in this profession so I will be the first to admit when I’m wrong. I hope I’m forgiven.”
An attempt to reach Independence Community College went unreturned Thursday.
There were no public tweets between a member of the GCCC football staff and any coaches from Arizona.
“We just don’t use Twitter as a medium to let our grievances out,” Sims said. “We don’t use Twitter to talk about other programs.”