Sunday, March 4, 2012

Stealing coaching contract money

Lamar Coach Pat Knight garnered his 15 minutes of fame last week with a blistering tirade against his team.

Knight offered up these verbal darts:
"We've got the worst group of seniors right now that I've ever been associated with. Their mentality is awful. Their attitude is awful"

"We've had problems with these guys on the court, off the court, classroom, drugs, being late for stuff."

"These kids are stealing money being on scholarship with their approach"

"We have a bunch of tin men out there right now. They've got no heart. I've never been around a team that's got so many problems as this one has. Usually you've got one or two guys that are a problem. We've got an infestation of guys that are hard to coach. I've never been around a group as a whole that are like that. Not one guy stands up.
Reaction to his ranting littered the spectrum, from those who feel both of the Knights have overstayed their time in the coaching ranks, to kudos for the younger Knight speaking out and saying apparently what many other coaches have felt from time to time. Some liked that Knight went public with what was so often dispensed privately.

But if we are looking at the big picture, then it's worthy to consider the following:

In his time as the head coach at Texas Tech where he took over from his father, Knight posted a 50-61 W-L record, being let go in March 2011 with Lamar promptly hiring him.

In recent interviews, Knight admitted he had not earned the Tech promotion: "I didn't deserve it." 

Give him credit for publicly verbalizing such an admission but jeez, that must be zero solace to the student-athletes he brought in and coached during his mediocre tenure. Can his recruits ask for a do-over and have their eligibility restored?

Plus, isn't speaking out a two-way street.

Or should be.

So what if a senior at "name-that-college" had gone off at a post-game press conference saying "I've been here four years and I'm tired of losing. The coaching staff has brought in more crap recruits than I ever would have thought professionally possible. The talent judging here is off the chain."

Or a team captain spouting "we have guys playing in roles they can't succeed in -- that makes no sense and leaves us wondering if coach was a heritage hire."

How about a wet-behind-the-ears freshman, whose eyes have been opened to the business of college hoops, deciding to offer "if the rumors are true that we're paying some guys to come here, then it must be the minimum wage."

But no, it's the adults who command the podium and the almighty head coach must always be listened to and n-e-v-e-r  b-e  q-u-e-s-t-i-o-n-e-d.

Yes, just imagine the blowback from the sports pundits if a kid called out his emperor for birthday-suiting it.

No, that just wouldn't do.

It would be imperative to have order and hierarchy be restored.

So maybe what Knight said was accurate. Go ahead, make the case that doing so publicly was the correct venue. But while you're at it, explain why such a situation shouldn't cut both ways?

Furthermore, when will a head coach stand up and say "I'm firing myself because I sucked at the job I was hired to do"?

Yeah, when heresy marries blasphemy and the Supreme Court recognizes such a union.

Or when parents stand and deliver that "you know what, we realized we don't know more about coaching than the person heading the varsity program." But that's a whole 'nother story for another post.

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