Texas coach Mike White apologizes for 'uncharacteristic indiscretion' at Big 12 tournament
On Friday, Texas softball coach Mike White issued an apology for his actions in a semifinal showdown with No. 7 Oklahoma State at the Big 12 tournament.
Between the first and second innings, White was ejected from the contest. Upon leaving the field, White turned around and extended his middle finger in the direction of an umpire.
White's ejection capped a dramatic opening inning at the Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Okla. In the bottom of the first frame, Texas caught Chelsea Alexander in a rundown after former Longhorn Miranda Elish grounded a ball back to pitcher Hailey Dolcini. Mary Iakopo tagged Alexander out at home but after Oklahoma State objected and the play was reviewed, Iakopo was called for obstruction and Alexander was credited with scoring the game’s first run.
Later in the inning, another review led to another run for Oklahoma State. The umpires initially ruled that Elish had been forced out at second base before the Cowgirls crossed home plate with a run that would have given them a 2-0 lead. A review overturned that call.
White voiced his displeasure with the umpires after that second review, but he eventually walked to the coaching box at third base. He was then ejected after he clapped in the direction of Naomi Erdahl, who was the third base umpire.
Texas went on to lose 6-1.
After the game, White issued an apology on his Twitter account. The team also passed along White's sentiments in the form of a press release.
"Today, I was ejected from the Big 12 Championship semifinal game versus Oklahoma State. I would like to apologize to everyone involved including the Big 12 Conference, Oklahoma State, my softball team and all Texas fans for my actions after being ejected," White said.
Continued White: "Out of frustration I did something while leaving the field of play that I regret, and I hope that my apology will be accepted for my uncharacteristic indiscretion. I know that I have embarrassed the University of Texas, the Texas softball program and my athletic director Chris Del Conte, who have placed trust in me to lead this team in an honorable way. Today was certainly not the right way to conduct oneself during softball competition. I am an intense competitor by nature, and in the heat of the moment I made a rash decision which I truly regret."
Late Friday, the Big 12 issued a public reprimand of White. In a statement, conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby said that "Coach White’s action was a clear violation of Sportsmanship expectations, and we accept his public apology."
That reprimand led to White issuing another apology on Saturday. That apology stated that "I fully accept responsibility for the reprimand the Big 12 Conference issued for my actions in our game against Oklahoma State yesterday. As I said after the game, they were unacceptable, regrettable and reflected poorly on the Big 12 Conference, The University of Texas, my softball team and me personally. In addition to that statement, I also want to publicly apologize to the umpiring crew, that was calling the game, and specifically umpire Naomi (Erdahl). My actions were not in accordance with those of a Head Coach who has the responsibility to conduct himself in a professional manner at all times."
Ranked 16th in the NFCA poll, Texas is now 38-17-1 this season. The Longhorns will find out on Sunday if they'll host a regional or open the NCAA Tournament on the road.