Tuesday, February 13, 2007

In Remembrance: Mean Coaches

With the firing of Marty Schottenheimer last night, and Bill Parcells and Bill Cowher leaving the coaching ranks, the NFL has lost three of the better scream-n-spit style coaches, a rapidly depleting group. Much was made at the Super Bowl about Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith, two nice guys by all accounts, who treat their players like men. A Wall Street Journal columnist, praising the two coaches for not cursing or sarcastically chewing out players, quoted Dungy saying, "there's not a lot of profanity from the coaches, there's none of the win-at-all-costs atmosphere. I think for two guys to show you can win that way is important for the country to see." While that is all really nice and pleasant and probably great for America, as an observer of sports it's much more fun to watch a coach have outward, insane passion. That doesn't mean a coach, especially at the high school or college level, has to go all Col. Jessep (a guy like Bobby Knight is a relic), but it is fun to see some basic rah-rah enthusiasm. The scene of a defeated coach completely losing it might, sadly, go by the wayside. Pro and college coaches--a profession turning bland before our eyes--are supposed to hide any candor, and when they are interviewed at half-time during a game, it is difficult to watch the fake niceness with the side-line reporter. (Here is old school Bear Bryant barely stomaching questions from a sideline interviewer.) While calm-cool-collected is the new trend, apparently, Dan Hawkins, the University of Colorado's football coach, is grasping to the old tough guy--bordering-on-missing-a-few-marbles approach. Truth? You can't handle the truth!

[Links from Deadspin, The Wizard of Odds , and Lion In Oil.]


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