Following controversy, football team boasts WiHi Pride

DELMARVA – Local athletes are speaking up for themselves after comments have been made about their abilities.

Last week Stephen Decatur Coach Jake Coleman made a statement saying:

“When they graduate it’s tough- you know you have to replace them, here’s the other thing, the other teams that we play their seniors graduated too, well most likely unless they went to Wi-Hi.”

Aleishia Gibson, a Wicomico High School football parent, is disgusted after a coach made comments about WiHi’s academic abilities.

“That is not something you joke about this day and age, sorry that is just unacceptable,” Aleishia Gibson says.

She tells 47ABC that as a Team Mom she took strong offense to the comment because the team and school are always labeled as the underdog. Coach Jake Coleman with Stephen Decatur’s football team did issue a Facebook apology saying:

“I sincerely apologize to everyone who has viewed and listened to the insensitive comment I made during an interview with Bill Baker regarding football here on the shore. While I thought I was making a joke about reclassification, I realize now how thoughtless and inappropriate the comment was.

I especially want to apologize to all of WiHi’s student athletes for ever implying- even unintentionally- anything negative about them. As a coach, I recognize the level of influence I have. Not only on the student I coach, but our athletic community. I promise that I will strive to do and be better moving forward.”
47ABC spoke with some of the Tribe. Running Back BJ Cook and Cornerback Michael McKinley said they were both shocked at first by the comment. Wide Receiver Jayce Freeman says that his school is looked down upon but they are capable of so much more.
“They always try to label us like the ghettoer school or the school that’s always getting in trouble but once you come here you see the environment, and the school environment, and the people here and their characteristics it’s not a bad place at all,” Freeman tells 47ABC.
The Wide Receiver says his team has to keep up the good work. Freeman isn’t the only one that shares that same WiHi pride Cornerback Michael Mckinley says in fact WiHi’s numbers are higher than you think.

“I would just say that all our seniors on the team we all bought into the program and we all get 3.0s or higher,” McKinley says.

47ABC reached out to Wicomico school officials and they wouldn’t comment on this specific situation. However, they did say:

“Wicomico High School’s football program recently completed an amazing season as Salisbury City Champions with a 9-2 record under 3rd  year coach Isaiah Taylor. These student-athletes not only excel on the field, but they are just as accomplished in the classroom. Of this 2021 Tribe football team, all 14 seniors are on track to graduate, eight of the fourteen are headed to college, and 38 players received the Mind In Motions Certificate for achieving a 3.25 Grade Point Average or higher and making the honor roll.”

Running Back BJ Cook says the facts should speak for themselves.

“When it comes down to the numbers and the people thats in it, we are really one of the best schools in the county 2.47 so I think if we continue to do that, it will come to the light one day 2.52 and everybody will see that,” Cook says.

The 3 students that 47 ABC spoke with have big plans after high school. Jayce Freeman is on a full scholarship to Stony Brook, Michael Mckinley is going to the Air Force and BJ has multiple offers on the table, however he is still undecided.

Categories: Local News, Maryland