ALLENDALE, Mich. (AP) — Grand Valley State suspended offensive coordinator Morris Berger on Monday after he was quoted by the school newspaper as saying he would like to meet Adolf Hitler and no one could deny the Nazi “wasn't a great leader."
The university in western Michigan is investigating Berger’s comments, according to WXMI -TV. His hiring was announced last week.
Berger was being interviewed Thursday by The Lanthorn sports editor and was asked which three historical figures he would like to have dinner with.
“This is probably not going to get a good review, but I’m going to say Adolf Hitler,” he said. “It was obviously very sad and he had bad motives, but the way he was able to lead was second-to-none. How he rallied a group and a following, I want to know how he did that. Bad intentions of course, but you can’t deny he wasn’t a great leader.”
Berger also said he would like to meet President John F. Kennedy because of “his experience with the country and being that he was a good president and everything.” Christopher Columbus was his third choice due to “the ability to go on the journey he was on ... into the unknown,” Berger said.
Berger's comments "as reported in The Lanthorn student newspaper do not reflect the values of Grand Valley State University,” the school said in a statement announcing the suspension.
The Associated Press was unable to find a phone listing for Berger. An email seeking comment was sent Monday to his university account.
The athletic department website says Berger holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s in educational psychology.
Berger joined Grand Valley State after spending a season as Texas State’s tight ends coach. Berger also spent time on the football staff at Oklahoma State.