Statement from Mark Samson
August 14, 2014
As you know, I recently resigned my position as the head football coach at Montana State University-Northern. The decision to resign was not easy, but I felt it was in the best interest of myself, my family and MSU-Northern.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the current members of the MSU-Northern Football team, as well as all of the fans who have shown their support for me during my tenure as head football coach at MSU-Northern. I am both lucky and blessed to have been able to work with an outstanding group of young men who played for me during my time at Northern. All of the characteristics that coaches look for in their players — loyalty, honesty, hardworking, and “team first” approach are embodied by current and past members of the Lights’ Football team.
My resignation was the result of a mistake in judgment on my part that has now cost me the opportunity to continue as head coach of the Lights. During our recent summer youth football camp held this past June, I placed some monies generated from camp registration fees into an off campus account. Those funds should have been deposited into an account controlled solely by MSU-Northern. In recent weeks, an investigation by university personnel revealed a discrepancy in funds deposited into the state account compared to past years, which led to a further investigation related to the football camp and where certain funds were deposited.
Since the discrepancy was brought to my attention by school officials, I have done my best to cooperate with their review and have produced all records and paperwork related to the off campus account. All money that was deposited and spent was accounted for, as well as money still remaining in the account. The majority of money from this account was used to pay the coaches who assisted me in running the camp, as well as payment to myself. This account has been closed and the university has all account records and money remaining in the account.
My intent was not malicious in nature. The use of an account not controlled by MSU-Northern was a violation of school policy. I have acknowledged since the outset of the school’s investigation that my actions were wrong and I accept full responsibility for the same. I regret that the end of my coaching career at MSU-Northern was caused by a lapse of judgment on my part. I know that I have disappointed many people, including my family, and the many players, support staff and fans who are involved in Lights’ Football.
It is easy in these types of situations to point fingers, make excuses and lay blame on others. It is my hope that the players, parents and fans of the Lights’ football program will rise above this and focus on the task at hand, which is to take pride in MSU-Northern football, work hard to prepare for the upcoming football season and continue to be supportive of one another.