Pettigrew out as Bulldogs coach
By Victor Parkins
After two years guiding the Bulldog football program, Craig ‘Teddy’ Pettigrew is out as the head coach. He resigned from the position Monday morning.
Pettigrew was 14-11 in his tenure with the Bulldogs. He led Milan to the playoffs in both of his two seasons, with each of those teams finishing second in Region 7-3A. Pettigrew’s first season ended at 8-5 in the quarter-finals and his second stint ended with a 6-6 mark in the second round of the post-season.
Milan Athletic Director and MHS Principal Greg Scott sent a prepared statement to the Mirror-Exchange Monday.
“This morning, I accepted the resignation of Coach Teddy Pettigrew from his position as head football coach at Milan High School. I know that Coach Teddy loves Milan and Bulldog football. He has been a valuable asset to our football staff for 16 years and we are grateful for the impact and personal investments he has made in young men over that time,” Scott wrote.
Coach Pettigrew said it was clear to him that race played a role in the decision to remove him as Milan’s coach.
“They should have never hired me if they weren’t going to give me a fair chance,” Pettigrew said. “When I took the job I knew in my heart they would fire me if I didn’t win a state championship in two years. If I was a white coach, I wouldn’t be getting fired. I did the best I could do with what I inherited. I feel like because we’re building a new stadium, they didn’t want a black coach leading the program. But that’s who I am. I’m an African American and because of that I was expendable. It’s quite evident to me that’s why I’m no longer the coach. Look at the other sports in Milan. Those coaches aren’t getting fired for being second in the region–it just doesn’t happen,” he said.
Pettigrew broke the news to his team Monday afternoon.
“This is my dream job but I was forced to resign this morning,” Pettigrew said to his team. “This is the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do. You guys are like sons to me and I hope and pray that each of you find success in your future.”
Pettigrew said he’ll be coaching again very soon.
“I’ve probably got text messages from 10 different head coaches this morning asking me to come coach on their staff. I’m not through coaching,” he said.
Mr. Scott said a search for a new coach would begin immediately.
“From this point, I will begin the process to find the next leader of what we all know to be the premier football program in West Tennessee. As always, we want someone who can lead our young men on and off the field and teach integrity, discipline, and hard work in the pursuit of excellence. The Bulldogs that have come before and all of Bulldog Nation deserve nothing less.”