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Hawaii coach replies to gay athlete's e-mail

Greg McMackin

Greg McMackin

Matt Coin played tennis for UC-Santa Barbara and his 2005 article about coming out to his team is one of the most popular ever posted on Outsports. When he read that University of Hawaii football coach Greg McMackin referred to Notre Dame players doing a "faggot dance," Coin was moved to write the coach. He was surprised he receive a personal reply.

It is possible that anyone writing McMackin ( is getting the same reply, but Matt was still pleased that he received it. Here are Matt's original e-mail (very well written) and McMackin's reply:

Hello Mr. McMackin,

I am writing in response to the numerous articles I have read over the past 24 hours regarding the statements you made. As a former Division I tennis player for UC-Santa Barbara, I was personally offended by your use of the term, "faggot dance." I think this reveals a larger issue among athletics, and can only assume that the words used on the field, at practices, in locker rooms, and closed doors are even more homophobic.

Diminishing a man's masculinity has been common practice in sports forever. It is one thing to say that a man is "less of a man," and another to say that a man is a "faggot," "homo," or "queer." This implies that being a homosexual is a negative thing. If you feel that way, then you should keep it to yourself, and not create an environment that promotes your prejudice.

Comments like these encourage women and men to stay in the closet. Children around the country e-mail me everyday seeking counseling, and people like you are the reason they need it in the first place. Homosexuality is a natural thing, and it is likely that you have a homosexual brother, sister, uncle, aunt, son, daughter, or friend, who you love, but do not know is gay. It is your fault that this person can't be his or herself around you. If you know 25 men, then it is likely that 1 of them is gay. I hope that this opens your eyes a little bit.

Since graduating from UCSB, the university has adopted an admirable diversity policy, and sends its athletes to training to better understand race, creed, and sexuality. I strongly suggest that you and your entire staff be sent to a similar training.

Matthew Coin


Thank you for your email. There was never any intention to use a word such as that. I am sorry for the mistake I made as it does not reflect the way I live my life. I believe everyone should be treated with dignity and respect. This painful and unfortunate situation will be used as an educational opportunity to promote better understanding of all people and emphasize how words do hurt even when no harm is intended.

Greg McMakin