Morgan State football players criticize coach, ask his dismissal 69 players sign petition for ouster of Coach Diggs

Morgan State's football players are calling for the firing o coach Ricky Diggs.

A petition signed by 69 players and addressed to administrators asks that Diggs, 2-8 in his second year at Morgan, be dismissed at the end of the season, which is Saturday, according to broadcast reports. The players also demand a meeting with the administration tomorrow.


Joe McIver, acting athletic director, said last night: "I haven't seen the petition yet or been able to talk to Coach Diggs. I first was made aware of it at 6:30 this evening when a TV station first contacted me. "The only thing at this point that I can do is go back to school and talk to the parties involved and then go to the president of the school and the vice president of student affairs and discuss the situation."

In the petition, the players say they will stage a sit-in at halftime of Saturday's home game against Bethune-Cookman College if their demands are ignored. They also threaten not to play next season.


Diggs could not be reached for comment. A former assistant coach at Air Force, Diggs went 1-10 in his first season at Morgan.

In the petition, the players say there are several reasons for dismissal, among them:

* "With Coach Diggs, we feel that there's no player-coach relationships at all. We are afraid to talk to him for fear of being humiliated and embarrassed.

* "Our team unity has been severely damaged because of favoritism shown to certain players by Coach Diggs.

* "Coach Diggs' philosophy is, 'We'll win because you did what I said, and we'll lose because you didn't do what I told you to do.' In other words, his attitude is, 'It's all about me.'

* "Coach Diggs would not allow [freshman running back] Andre Thomas to leave practice to take a test, so Andre quit the team."

The players also request that defensive coordinator L. C. Cole be named head coach and that football academic adviser Betsy Stearns be reinstated.

According to a report on WMAR-TV, Channel 2, Stearns and Diggs clashed, resulting in Stearns' removal this year.


The players' petition says they are able to communicate with Cole "without a feeling of fear or intimidation. . . . We can talk to Coach Cole as players and as a peer. . . ."

The players want to meet with Morgan President Earl S. Richardson, vice president for student affairs Raymond Downs and McIver.