Waxahachie freshman, bullied incessantly by older basketball teammates, Eric
Montgomery contemplated suicide.
"I don't blame the
coach," Montgomery said. "I didn't say anything. You didn't say
anything back then. You just kept your mouth shut, and you didn't rat anybody
out. You dealt with it yourself."
It wasn't until many years
later — when he became a parent and coach — that Montgomery, now 43, opened up
about his experience. After stints as softball coach at Forney and Frisco
Reedy, he's now the coach at Longview Spring Hill. Now, Montgomery relishes the
opportunity to talk with athletes and parents about how teammates should treat
That discussion is as important
as ever, because despite national campaigns aimed at education and prevention,
experts say hazing
and bullying not only continue in high school sports, they are becoming more
frequent and intense.
This summer, The Dallas
Morning News conducted an area-wide survey of high school coaches about
hazing in athletics. The News' high school staff identified dozens of
experts, coaches, victims and perpetrators to better bring to light the culture
of hazing in high school athletics and what can be done to prevent it. The
following stories are the result of that work:
Flower Mound wrestling case is a cautionary tale of
how hazing scandals can tear apart teams, communities