Trent Dilfer crossed the line in high school football; now how does he learn from it?

Trent Dilfer crossed a line in high school sports.

A coach cannot place his hands on an athlete out of frustration.

By now, you’ve likely seen the viral video from over the weekend showing Dilfer placing his hands on Lipscomb Academy (Nashville) senior Beau Dawson’s shoulders and aggressively walking him back toward a bench during the team’s home game Friday. He gave him a slight shove, ordering Dawson to sit down.

Dilfer has since apologized for his actions to his team and on social media.

“I’m disappointed in myself,” Dilfer said on “The Pat McAfee Show.” “There are so many opportunities as a leader, as a football coach … where you can take an opportunity and make it better. Unfortunately there are opportunities where you can take situations and you make them worse.”

“In this instance, I had a really great opportunity to make a situation better and I whiffed. I allowed a couple personal fouls that happened beforehand by different players and thought we we were losing discipline as a team.

“Beau is an emotional player. And all of a sudden I single him out instead of letting it breathe.”

High school football coaches have an opportunity to mold students into better people by the example they set. That includes lessons in how to remain humble whether you win or lose. But it’s also in how to deal with frustration and disappointment.

Dilfer went too far in disciplining Dawson. I spoke with at least five coaches and administrators and all said the same thing: You can’t put your hands on a high school athlete out of frustration.

There may have been a time when that was socially accepted. Not today.

The Tennessean left a phone message with Dilfer and the school’s athletics director Michelle York to discuss the incident. Neither responded to the message. Lipscomb assistant and former NFL kicker Phil Dawson, Beau’s father, declined comment when reached by direct message on Twitter.

In a letter to the Lipscomb Academy community, head of school Brad Schultz addressed Dilfer’s actions during the Mustangs’ 62-7 rout of Independence following meetings with the head coach.

“One specific aspect that was stressed during our conversation was that it is never appropriate for a Lipscomb Academy employee to have a physical response with a student while frustrated or angry regardless of intent, and a repeat offense cannot occur,” Schultz said. “Based on Coach Dilfer’s positive relationships and connectivity with the student body and broader Lipscomb community, we are confident a similar event will not happen in the future.

“We appreciate the straightforward manner in which all parties have handled this situation, but believe it is important to make clear that Lipscomb Academy expects the highest standard of conduct at all times from all who represent it.”

Dilfer has apologized to the athlete and issued another apology on social media. He has spoken privately with the team and leadership at the school. He will not face any punishment from the school.

This is a teaching moment for all in high school athletics.

Football is an emotional sport. At times, it’s a tough-man sport.

But let’s be clear: Beau Dawson did nothing to justify this. He was the victim in this incident.

“Beau is one of our finest student athletes and embodies all the characteristics we are looking for in our Mustang players,” wrote Dilfer in an apology on Twitter. “Beau plays the game with the right kind of passion and is an inspiration to our other players.

“During a moment of frustration and in an attempt to get our team to play with more discipline, I unfairly singled Beau out. Somehow Beau Dawson has been portrayed publicly as the culprit in this situation, when in reality, I should have been a better leader and shown greater wisdom and discernment in how I handled this incident.”

Dilfer is a fiery coach on the sideline. He’s emotional. He’s the same competitor as a coach as he was as a Super Bowl winning quarterback. That’s not all bad if it can be harnessed in being the best role model possible for his team.

Because at the end of the day, this is still high school football and there are too many life lessons that come from the sport. It’s about building a team and playing together. It’s about sportsmanship.

That’s the video we need to see on Friday nights.

Follow Tom Kreager on Twitter @Kreager.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Trent Dilfer crossed line in high school football. Can he be better?