Former Cambridge High School head boys’ golf coach Brent Nottestad apologized today for racist tweets that cost him his job Thursday.
In a written statement this morning, Nottestad said a series of tweets he posted Wednesday about Alabama NASCAR driver Darrell "Bubba" Wallace, Jr., who is African American, "went way over the line and it became racist."
"I obviously regret everything that was said. I truly don't feel like I'm a racist man, but unfortunately, that is the way I will be viewed for some time. I have let down CHS, the whole community, my players, my friends and, most importantly, my family," Nottestad wrote. "I hate that my wife needs to deal with this. I sincerely apologize to all the people that I have affected including driver Bubba Wallace. All I can do is ask for forgiveness. Sorry!"
He added that when he used the number 1423 in one of the tweets, he was unaware of its association with the white supremacist group The Southern Brotherhood.
"I want to express the number 1423 I chose was completely random and in no way was I implying anything," Nottestad said. "I was shocked when I learned it had a meaning to it. This mistake has cost me a job I absolutely loved. I regret everything I said that night. I am currently in the process of sending Mr. Wallace an apology."
Nottestad resigned as the high school's boys' golf coach Thursday after the Cambridge School District became aware of the tweets.
“The Cambridge School District was made aware of several offensive comments made on social media by Cambridge High School boys’ golf coach, Brent Nottestad,” Cambridge Superintendent Bernie Nikolay said in a release about 4 p.m Thursday. “After a meeting between Mr. Nottestad and school district officials this morning, Mr. Nottestad resigned his position with the district, effective immediately. As this is a personnel matter, no other statements or comments will be forthcoming from the school district.”
Nottestad, 42, is a 1993 Cambridge High School graduate who had been the school’s golf coach since 2014. He posted a series of tweets around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday that targeted Wallace.
Wallace, a regular in NASCAR’s Camping World Truck and Xfinity series and the lone African American driver currently on the NASCAR circuits, wasn’t racing Wednesday.
But an offhand tweet Wallace made on the social media platform about “race in NASCAR” prompted Nottestad to respond with four tweets that mentioned Wallace, and his recently deceased grandmother who was a NASCAR fan. In one tweet, Nottestad included the number 1423.
The tweets have all since been removed from Twitter; the Cambridge News and Deerfield Independent obtained screen-shot copies before they were taken down.
Shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday, Wallace tweeted: “There is only 1 driver from an African American background at the top level of our sport… I am the 1. You're not gonna stop hearing about ‘the black driver’ for years. Embrace it, accept it and enjoy the journey…”
About 7:20 p.m., Nottestad responded: “Will this fella just go away. Can't drive himself out of an open wet paper bag. Sad to see the sport let this clown with zero ability.”
About 10 minutes later, Nottestad tweeted again: “Hey @BubbaWallace. Please quit with, ‘I’m black’ bs. You’re terrible. There are 1423 more credible drivers to get that ride than you.”
Nottestad was referring to the recent announcement that Wallace would replace Aric Almirola in Richard Petty Motorsports’ iconic No. 43 car as a full-time driver in 2018.
However, 1423 is also commonly associated with the Southern Brotherhood, an Alabama-based white supremacist prison gang. The website of the Anti-Defamation League, adl.org, says its members “often use the numeric symbol 14/23, a reference to the ’14 Words’ slogan (“We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children”) and the “23 Precepts” of the Southern Brotherhood.”
Wallace responded directly to the second tweet. Alluding to Nottestad’s profile picture, the 24-year old Wallace tweeted: “Wow, I feel truly sorry for your kids. Again...to have so much hate towards somebody you've never met. Hope your kids grow up to be the exact opposite of a father you are…”
Nottestad responded about 7:35 p.m., after generating responses from several NASCAR fans and broadcasters. This time, he quoted a memoriam to Wallace’s grandmother, Jan, that was pinned to his Twitter wall. “Granny Jan die in a police shooting?” Nottestad wrote.
About 7:40 p.m., Nottestad tweeted one final time, this time referencing a photo of Wallace and a white NASCAR fan. “Almost looks like going to the zoo,” Nottestad posted.
A representative of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) said Thursday that it has no disciplinary process for coaches. That, the representative said, is left to individual schools.