Marian Central assistant football coach Steve Spoden, a beloved figure by the Hurricanes’ players, is out at the school where he has coached for 13 seasons.
Spoden said Thursday he had been fired earlier that day by Marian’s administration because of comments he posted on a player’s Facebook page last month.
“I don’t want to be negative [at Marian],” Spoden said. “I can’t apologize enough to the administration and the kids at Marian. [Superintendent] Mr. [Tom] Landers has a job to do and I respect that. I understand that I put Mr. Landers and the administration in a bad situation. I feel bad for the kids; I don’t feel bad for myself.”
Spoden, who played offensive lineman at the University of Northern Iowa, commented on a player’s Facebook status when Montini was about to play for the IHSA Class 5A state championship. Marian lost to Montini, 42-27, in the quarterfinals, the fourth consecutive year that the Broncos knocked the Hurricanes out.
Spoden admitted his comments were “unsportsmanlike,” but felt he was trying to console a player and also fire up other younger players for the upcoming season about what they needed to work on.
“I made a huge mistake,” Spoden said. “I need to own it. I have no one to blame but me.”
The outpouring of affection through Facebook, Twitter and text messages were overwhelming for Spoden. He said he had to recharge his phone to handle all the messages.
Spoden has helped produce several NCAA Division I linemen, including Bryan Bulaga, Sean Cwyner, Cody O’Neill, John Hussey, Scott Taylor and Kurtis Stirneman. Stirneman will graduate this year and play at Wyoming.
Spoden also has worked with the Crystal Lake Raiders program and has done sessions with some of the area’s best offensive linemen.
While many of the Facebook messages showed angst toward Marian, Spoden did not want students and players getting in trouble for acting out.
“I am overwhelmed at the support shown by the Marian family,” he said. “I’m not bitter at Marian. Those kids are like my little brothers over there.”