Butkus leaves Montour
'Head coach' said he fulfilled contract for reality television show
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
By Mike White, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Dick Butkus chided Montour football players for poor attitudes, right on national television. He questioned their heart on ESPN's weekly reality show "Bound For Glory."
Then Montour's pseudo head coach bailed on the team with two games left in the season.
Butkus left Saturday, one day after Montour's record dropped to 1-6 with a 34-3 loss at New Castle. Butkus, an Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker, told the team Thursday he was leaving. He told Montour's "real" head coach he was leaving because he had fulfilled his contract for the show.
Lou Cerro was hired as Montour's head coach this past winter. But Butkus was installed as head coach when ESPN picked Montour to be the subject of a weekly reality show at 10 p.m. Tuesdays. The show has aired three times and has five more episodes.
"He basically told me two weeks ago that he was going to be out of here," Cerro said. "He said he was contracted to work only eight weeks."
Also gone is Montour assistant coach Ray Crockett, a former Denver Broncos defensive back who was brought in by the show's producers to help Butkus coach. But through it all, Cerro remained the coach in charge.
Montour has two regular-season games remaining and is out of WPIAL playoff contention. Cerro said only one camera will be at practices and games the final two weeks. Until now, there were six or seven cameras around.
"They're telling us that to do the final two weeks of the season would cost them between $1.5 million and $2 million," Cerro said.
Montour senior quarterback Nick DiIanni didn't mind having Butkus as "coach."
"I thought he was very motivating with the speeches he gave," DiIanni said.
But DiIanni also said the show is misleading.
"Some of the stuff isn't too real, but I guess that's how shows are," DiIanni said.
The show portrayed Butkus as the "real" coach and rarely showed Cerro. Butkus also was highly critical of players on the show.
Montour senior linebacker Morgan Singletary was a little miffed by Butkus at times.
"I understood most of the stuff he was saying," Singletary said. "But at times, it was awkward the way he would yell at us. He wouldn't really talk to us at all during practice, then he'd come out and start yelling at us at the end. That was awkward.
"If I had my choice, I probably would not want to do this again. I met a lot of cool people, but I would've just rather had coach Cerro. I think it would've been a lot of fun, with or without cameras. Without cameras, there would've been a lot less problems."
Cerro said Butkus told him he would be back next Friday for Montour's final regular-season game at West Allegheny. While in town since August, Butkus lived in a trailer park in Harmony and a smaller trailer at the school.
"He said he hasn't seen his wife since April," Cerro said.
"Maybe this will bring some sanity back to the whole program. The kids know no one is here now but me and the rest of the coaches. They're not going to have to worry about television interview times or things like that."
Cerro is not bitter about the whole experience.
"At times it was a distraction, but I went with the flow and just tried to make it work for the school and the kids," he said.