Micah Grimes, the ousted coach of the Covenant School girls basketball team in Texas that set off a national debate after beating Dallas Academy 100-0 in January, said his team didn't run up the score and reiterated that he had nothing to apologize for in an interview with ESPN's Outside the Lines.
"To us, it was just another game," Grimes said in an interview with ESPN's Darren Lyn. "I think to mainstream media, everyone looked at it as ... a team that just decided to run up a score."
Grimes has spoken infrequently after the game, and his interview with OTL was his first TV appearance as well as his most extensive comments on the subject.
He told OTL that he didn't intend for the score to be as one-sided as it was, despite the fact Covenant led 59-0 at halftime and 88-0 after three quarters.
"As a coach, I took precautions," Grimes said. "We did not do what everyone else thought we did. So, I felt deep down that there's no way that we should apologize for something we knew we did not do."
No complete tape of the game has been released. ESPN received an edited 10-minute version from the father of a player on the winning team. The father wouldn't provide a complete copy to ESPN, saying he was concerned about the "context" in which it would be used.
The tape shows Covenant pressing full court early in the game. Grimes said his team stopped pressing midway through the first quarter, when his team led 27-0.
"We played a zone, from that point on," Grimes said. "It was just like 'let's just try to get this game over.' "
In the portion of the tape provided to ESPN, Covenant is not seen pressing full court after the first quarter, but continued to play an aggressive half-court defense, including traps against the smaller Dallas Academy players.
Grimes said he told his team to continue to play hard, but "let's not do anything that would be unsportsmanlike or seen as harmful or shameful to Dallas Academy."
One parent from Dallas Academy told The Associated Press in January that fans and an assistant coach from Covenant cheered as the team neared 100 points. The edited tape provided to ESPN shows Covenant scoring the 98th point, but not the 100th.
Grimes said scoring 100 points was not a goal.
"Never. No way. Absolutely not," he told OTL.
Grimes was fired after sending a letter to The Dallas Morning News defending his team, a day after the Covenant School had posted an apology on its Web site.
Grimes told OTL he has continued to meet with some of his former players weekly but has not applied for another coaching job. He said he has not received any coaching offers.
Grimes said he is working on a master's degree in athletic administration and coaching from a university in Texas that he did not identify.