The Gross National Debt

Thursday, September 26, 2013

We need more coaches like this

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In my journalism career across several states and the nation, I've interviewed more coaches than I can remember. Good ones, bad ones, mediocre ones.

One thing stands out above everything else. A winning high school football coach is the most powerful person in the school system. I know educators and administrators who'll disagree with me, but empirical evidence says otherwise.

Coaches, by themselves, are pretty powerful people in the school system anyway.

I wish I could tell you the best coaches were also the best people. Sometimes that happens. Sadly, that is not what I've seen most of the time. I point you to former UGA Coach Ray Goff. He is a great and wonderful man, but he ain't cut to be a SEC Head Coach. When my own grandmother said, "He's not mean enough," well yeah, Goff's time at Bulldawg Nation was absolutely limited.

Now I point you to Joe Paterno and the scandal that rocked Penn State. As winning coach, he could, and apparently did, get away with a whole lot. Paterno was mean enough to be a head coach until age robbed him of his edge and he was winning fewer games. Argue what you will, I can point you to PLENTY of coaches who had winning teams and did things that got non-winning coaches fired. Steve Spurrier anyone?

I could also point you to a coach during my high school years. As this person is still alive, I'm not going into details, except to say he racked up plenty of wins, a state title and playoffs every year.

While I dunno what this coach's record is, I have to say based strictly on this news story, he sounds like the kind of coach every school needs. I also support him, I'd support any coach like this.

Suspending the entire team, even though at least one kid was an honor student, is admirable. It teaches teamwork. It teaches: United we stand. Divided we fall. This will massively annoy nonconformists, but this is also a football TEAM. Joint efforts. Pull together. A football team is not a place for individuals.

This coach is apparently more interested in building character and teaching students respect than winning games.

Yeah.

I've come across coaches like that. None had the guts to suspend the entire team. Most didn't have the guts to do much of anything except make the kids run a few extra laps.

In my time covering high schools across the nation, I've seen one football player quit in the middle of the game. Quit. Hit the sidelines, threw off his pads, jumped the fence and went into the stands. Didn't come back either.

I've seen one student athlete kicked off a team for his behaviors. Now there were probably a couple more over the years, but not very many. I've seen FAR more student athletes get away with behavior that, if done in a classroom, would have gotten them suspended from school and in a few cases, expelled.

I've only heard one coach ever say, in public, that conduct off the field had on-the-field consequences when the conduct was done outside of school and away from school activities.

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