Friday, January 1, 2010

No love for coaches

2010 has arrived, and I enter the new decade with some momentum. Dissertation data is collected, my family is healthy, the wife and I have projects percolatin'. December was busy, and I wanted to stop in and post, but just never found the time to sit down and organize my thoughts. Could be because headlines flew furiously as '09 went by the boards. It was hard to really get a chance to formulate a take on it all. The following were things I thought about engaging:

Tiger was pimpin..poorly. And what to think about his choice of side joints?

Oprah announced she's moving on in '11...Who's next? Will there be a next?

President Obama became a pinata after year one...Chile please

All this and a whole lot more made the headlines, but what has moved me to write at the onset of 2010 is COACHING. At it's most altruistic, it's a position where you are tasked to teach young people skills that they will use in the athletic arena, and later in life. At it's worst, it's a position where power is bestowed an abused while making gobs of money. Given that coaching is currently a major part of my livelihood, it boggles my mind how coaches on all levels, from pee wee to pro are being pushed farther and farther away from being teachers and mentors to simply being producers of "success", however that may be defined. I look at the situations of recently fired coaches like Mark Mangino and Mike Leech and can't help but think that continued winning would have kept any complaints from players, boosters, and admin under the rug. Mangino turned Kansas football from laughing stock to contender, and the minute he had one bad season, gone. Mike Leech made Lubbock a relevant city in football-rich Texas to rival Austin, College Station, and Houston. The minute he even considered leveraging his success into a better position, the witch hunt began, and now he's gone.

Sure coaches know what they are getting into when they sign the contracts, but it is still a surprise when success is met with a "What Have You Done for me Lately" attitude. I guess the sacrifice of health and family isn't enough. I see now why coaches with multiple championships (Phil Jackson, Joe Torre) leverage it to the hilt. There is no loyalty in the coaching game, and wins are the bottom line. If you happen to keep players out of trouble and instill a few life lessons, that's a bonus.

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