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Players, fans opinions differ over removal

November 5, 2002

The news of Bobby Williams’ termination swept threw campus like wildfire.

After weeks of pleading from fans and alumni for MSU Athletics Director Ron Mason to fire the third-year head coach, some Spartan followers finally were granted their wish.

While fans who booed and held signs at recent home games that said “Fire Bobby Williams” were satisfied, players on the team didn’t take the news well.

Many members of the football team, who learned about Williams’ firing minutes before Mason’s press conference, were visibly upset by his termination.

Junior defensive lineman Luc Mullinder was one of the players who showed frustration over the evening’s news in the lobby of the Clara Bell Smith Student-Athletic Academic Center.

“I don’t want to hear this shit, man,” he said while trying to be calmed. “They obviously don’t give a f--- about us.”

After practice, many players routinely flow into Case Hall for dinner and leave for their homes.

No-preference freshman Candrece Bryant, a Case Hall resident, said she knows of players considering changing schools. She would not comment on the specific players.

“A couple of them I saw were distraught, very upset,” she said. “They don’t think they want to play for who is expected to be the stand-in coach.”

Senior offensive tackle Ulish Booker said he has heard similar things from players.

“From what I’ve heard, that’s a big subject,” he said. “Other than that, I’m just trying to deal with what’s going on.”

Booker said he didn’t agree with the timing of Williams’ termination, but he hopes the team stays together to close out the season.

Communication freshman Zach Fink said he thought Williams should have been fired at the end of the season.

“It’s hard to say, especially when the second-worst coach of all-time is going to take his place,” he said, referring to interim head coach Morris Watts. “The team has gone awry. We have no structure. When you lose 49-3 against Michigan you obviously can’t get up for any game and you gotta do something.

“I don’t think it could hurt. The season’s already over. It’s time to start looking for a new coach anyway.”

MSU alumnus Chris McCarty and 2002 graduate Dave Cafagna, webmasters of firebobbywilliams.com, said in an e-mail to The State News that even they were surprised about the timing of the move.

“We had a feeling that he would be gone at the end of the season, but not this soon,” they said. “We are in the process of purchasing a new domain name for Spartan fans to discuss and provide information about possible replacements.

“I’m sure Bobby will on be someone’s staff next season, in the capacity of a positions coach. Hopefully, the new coach can return the Spartans to the upper level of the Big Ten.”

Romando J. Dixson can be reached at dixsonro@msu.edu.

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