Clearfield football coach Don Eck fired over angry voicemail to player who had quit the team

The former University of Utah lineman and assistant coach says, “I just made a mistake.”

(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Don Eck, pictured here in this Tribune file photo, was fired this week from his job at Clearfield High School over a voice message he left a player who had quit the school's football team.

Clearfield High football coach Don Eck has been fired after reportedly leaving an angry voicemail for a student-athlete who had quit the team.

Eck, a teacher and coach at the school, was placed on administrative leave Oct. 25 “soon after allegations surfaced regarding his conduct” and fired Tuesday, according to the Davis School District.

“I just made a mistake,” Eck told The Tribune when reached by phone Tuesday. “The mistake was made in anger after a player quit and after we lost our playoff game.”

Officials “investigated the situation and concluded that disciplinary action was needed,” according to a statement released by the school district. “The district does not condone such behavior from any of its employees.”

The Ogden Standard-Examiner on Monday first reported that Eck had been placed on administrative leave.

According to the newspaper, the first-year head coach left the message on the student’s cellphone sometime after Clearfield played West Jordan in late October. The message was posted to, and then deleted from, a public Facebook page.

“I want to meet with your parents, man, ‘cause I keep hearing your mom’s putting all sorts of s— on social media talking s— about the coaches here and I’m gonna put a stop to that, bro,” the message said, according to the Standard-Examiner. “… But by them letting you f— quit on your teammates and go into this game shorthanded like we did is the most despicable thing I’ve ever seen in all my years of coaching, and I want to let both your parents know that and I want to tell them face to face, so call me back so I can set up a meeting with your parents.”

On Tuesday, Eck said his anger got the best of him after a 27-0 playoff loss on Oct. 22.

“The player that replaced [the player who quit] was in tears in the team room thinking he lost the game, and it angered me, and I made a mistake by leaving a bad voicemail,” Eck said.

Eck is a former University of Utah lineman, who coached at the U. from 1994-2002, served as an offensive coordinator for an NFL Europe team, and later became the first head coach of Corner Canyon High School’s football program.