Monday, September 27, 2010

Hello Coaches; Character Matters

Major college football (and even lower division ball) is big business. It amuses me when football analysts and game day play by play guys talk about the what great guys coaches are, great educators, examples to their "kids," etc. etc. The reality of the matter is that young guys are being exploited for the greater glory of the schools and the coaches. This is obvious but of course does not change my love for the college game. Many college coaches, at least head coaches in D1, are paid a "movie star" type of salary, often on the taxpayers (at least partially) dime and are state employees as it were. Fine and good also as far as I am concerned. Even an academically tough private school like Rice, which actually does put academics above sports prowess to some extent at least, places a good deal of emphasis on their teams. A few years back I was a waiter at the Rice University President's house (yes I also know how to do fine dining) and overheard a conversation about the importance of athletics, football in particular. Something to the effect of "to be thought of as a major university a school has to have a major program." Perhaps it was an egghead professor questioning the program. I don't know. That would be typical. Many eggheads are envious of a mere jock with such a nice salary I suppose. At any rate there are a lot of college football coaches who are far from being "educators and role models for young men."
Pete Carroll seems to be a real nice soft spoken guy. Sociopaths often are. I don't know if he ran a dirty program but there certainly are indications that such may be the case. He did bolt for the NFL about the same time that the "troubles" at USC began to come to light. Is Carroll a cheater? I would not come right out and say that because again, I don't know. I must say however that when there is smoke there is usually a fire somewhere about. It goes without saying that a high level college coaching gig is more prestigious than one in the NFL. I wonder......
Brian Kelly is another coach with some character issues apparently. What type of message did it send to his team to bail out before the BCS game against Florida last season? Would it have hurt his efforts at Notre Dame to have waited a bit and lead his team to the slaughter against the Gators before he bolted for South Bend? Not that he has been doing a bang up job there.....Now the Univeristy of Cincinnati paid Kelly a sizable sum and should have insisted that he stay until the season was finished. He is not the only coach guilty of such classless and disloyal behavior.
Todd Graham is another of this stripe. He bolted from Rice to take the head coaching job at Tulsa. It shows no class or character to leave one school for another in the same conference. Number one there is the advantage of knowing the athletes of the school that is "ditched at the alter." It is funny that when Tulsa visited Rice the next season the MOB (Marching Owl Band for the Rice impaired), made fun of Graham. I believe he demanded an apology. I don't think one was forthcoming. The MOB usually will not apologize. I could be wrong on this issue. Graham made a huge whiny stink about the whole affair.
Now let us take a look at Saban and Nutt. Both left good jobs for competing schools in conference. Saban has of course unfortunately (my opinion) had a good deal of luck. He can win and no mistake. Nutt will likely not have such good results at Ole Miss. Either way both these coaches show a lack of character with their actions. Not good role models as it were.
O'Leary and Mike Price apparently had some issues in the past. Price allegedly had a taste for topless clubs, which cost him the Bama job. Foolish choice no doubt. To his credit, he has been paying penance at UTEP for a number of years without complaint. Still the issue will  likely follow him wherever he goes. Character counts Mike.
O'Leary apparently lied on his resume, at least according to reports. It cost him the job at Notre Dame. Probably all worked out for the best for him in the long run. He has also been paying penance at UCF with no complaint and a certain degree of success to boot. Still the issue will follow him wherever he chooses to go. It is doubtful that a "high level" college coaching job will be offered to him at any point. That is a shame but again, character counts.

Anyone that confuses most coaches with educators is delusional. Many are calculating business men who will bolt when things start going south, when the NCAA begins to question aspects of their program, or when more money is thrown their way.
Unfortunately many are not really worthy of much respect.

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