Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Both Sides of "Old School" coaching

Woody Hayes is gone as are most of the "old school" coaches, replaced by a kinder, gentler version of college coach: Coach 2.0, if you will. At least, that's what university presidents will tell you. The old, "these are students first and athletes second" shtick is getting old. We know it's not true...not when athletes sped a minimum amount of time in college ( and probably less than a minimum number of hours in class) and bolt for the first professional offer that comes their way. and it's not just the athletes that are to blame: The Rutgers University president and athletics director who knew about Mike Rice's behavior last year didn't fire him until the video of his abuse went viral some four months later: protecting the Rutgers "brand."
Bad, irresponsible, and selfish behavior, yes, but uncommon? I think not...and if YOU do, I think you are naive.
I have the opportunity to work with coaches and athletes on a DI level every day. I hear and I see things, and I know what the "right" way to work with people (both athletes and coaches) is. I believe that there are many unpublicized bullies out there. Remember the Texas Tech football story a couple of years ago? Locking a young man in an equipment shed, I believe? That coach is again working and getting highly paid. The football coach at Arkansas, relieved of his job after shoddy behavior (though not with student athletes) will again be working. This list goes far beyond Woody Hayes interfering with an opposing player during a game.
Call it motivational or character-building, the signs are the same: demeaning language, physical altercation, and an attempt to keep everything "in house" or "in our family." I know of one coach whose "family" meant ONLY the team for the players...not flesh and blood family. Sad.
However, there is something of a flip side to the scenario. Put aside the fact that coaching is a dog-eat- dog proposition with win totals the only thing that counts. Disregard the fact that while head coaches often get lucrative buyout packages, the assistants (and their families) get nothing. The fact is that student-athletes have to share some of the onus as well.
Speaking from very personal experience, I can say that many of the "money" athletes in basketball and football display an attitude of entitlement that is beyond belief. I have been asked to help a student take an online test...I have talked to professors who say they have been intimidated by coaches to change grades (not where I work, though). I have had student athletes ask how to complete an assignment when they have not read the material...and I have seen Pell Grant money go for $250 sneakers. In addition, I have observed players sulk, whine, and underperform if they don't get the playing time they think they deserve or complain that they have to walk from the farthest dorm on campus when it's 400m to the library...walk in late to a class and stroll right in front of the lecturing professor...on and on.
Older people always like to talk about how "back in the day" they were tougher, more respectful, and more dedicated to achieving great things without expecting to be patted on the back for a successful movement. Maybe so.
However, verbally pr physically demeaning players, coaches, professors, or academic tutors is shameful.


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