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      Tolbert: I'm ashamed to call myself a Chanticleer

      Former CCU All-American running back Mike Tolbert has released an open letter to Coastal Carolina University president Dr. David DeCenzo and the board of trustees, one day after teammate Tyler Thigpen wrote an open letter urging the board of trustees to reinstate David Bennett as head coach. Tolbert played at Coastal from 2004 through 2007 and is in his fourth season as a running back for the San Diego Chargers. David Bennett was dismissed as head football coach on December 9th.

      Mike Tolbert Open Letter to CCU president and board of trustees

      Mr. Mike TolbertSan Diego, CA 92160

      Board of Trusteesand Dr. David DeCenzo, PresidentCoastal Carolina UniversityP.O. Box 261954Conway, SC 29528-6054Phone: 843-347-3161

      Being a Coastal Carolina football alum that doesn't have intimate knowledge of the situation, but knowing the political aspect of what TMs been going on around the football program since Moose (Warren Moose Koegel) was fired or reassigned, I TMd say it was damn near impossible for Coach Bennett, whom I know VERY well, to do his job to the satisfaction of the new President and AD.

      David Bennett is more than just a coach. He's a father figure to some that grew up without fathers. He's the mentor that an immature 19 year old needs to push you through the days that are the toughest. My grandmother passed away 2 years ago. Coach Bennett was the 1st person to call and I had no idea how he knew but it was greatly appreciated.

      Coach Bennett and that coaching staff we're more than coaches. They were and still are family. I TMm deeply disappointed in the way that this came about and for the 1st time since I signed a scholarship in 2004 to play for Coach Bennett and CCU, I TMm ashamed to call myself a Chanticleer. For the new regime coming in to CCU, I pray and hope that you win and win fast and often because it TMs obvious that the new AD and the president only care about the money they spend on the program and the win loss column.

      The coaching staff that is leaving preached GOD and family 1st, school 2nd, and football 3rd. That way of thinking turned me into the man I am today. A very successful person that has a wife that I adore and a newborn baby girl. I TMd be completely happy if I TMm able to teach my children half of what Coach Bennett taught me. To Coach Bennett, I TMm a real DOG and I TMll always be one because of you.

      Thank you for teaching me more than just football. Thank you for teaching me how to be a man that accepts responsibility. Thank you for embracing me into your family on and off the field.

      Thank you for the belief that I can right my wrongs and be a better person from it. Most of all, thank you for the number of opportunities you've given me off the field to better myself. Because of you and that coaching staff, I TMm proud to say I TMm a happy husband, father, son, brother, businessman, athlete, and most importantly friend to you. Thank you for everything! love you much. Mike Tolbert #35 SAN DIEGOCHARGERS.....CCU STAND UP