The football coach at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, has been reprimanded by the Colonial Athletic Association, of which the University of Maine is a member.
Everett Withers was issued a reprimand for his postgame comments critical of the officiating crew that worked Saturday’s game between James Madison and the University at Albany at Bridgeforth Stadium in Harrisonburg.
“Coach Withers’ comments following Saturday’s game violated the CAA Football Code of Conduct policy that forbids public criticism of game officials,” CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager said in a press release. “The conference has an established process to address officiating concerns, which Coach Withers did not follow in this instance.”
James Madison (3-0), which is ranked eighth in the Football Championship Subdivision, beat Albany 42-28. The Dukes, who amassed 40 first downs and 625 yards of offense, were penalized nine times for 95 yards, including five “holding” calls.
The Great Danes were flagged five times for 45 yards.
According to a report on DNRonline.com, the website of the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg, Withers said the officiating crew “stunk” and was “awful” during Saturday’s game and commented that the same crew had “stunk” during a 2014 game involving JMU.
Withers on Monday apologized for his actions during his Fan and Press Luncheon.
“I’ve got to apologize to the CAA referees for calling them out on Saturday,” Withers began. “We had a conversation with Jim Maconaghy, head of officials.”
Withers said James Madison submitted for review by conference officials 10 plays from Saturday’s game that the Dukes believe were called incorrectly.
“I didn’t handle that very well but, again, I know those guys are working really hard to do a quality job,” he said.
JMU athletic director Jeff Bourne said coaches occasionally get emotional during games and that the university would not punish Withers.
“He apologized for it, and we’ll move forward,” Bourne told DNRoneline.com. “Coaches get frustrated, especially in games where things don’t go the way you want them to go. I think the issue speaks for itself. Again, he seems to be and is a great coach. Occasionally you let your feelings get away from you, but that happens to all of us.”
Withers indicated that he would try to avoid such situations in the future, but also sought accountability from officials.
“Hopefully I’ll get better in my response and they’ll get better in their response,” he said.