Is it me or did some very prominent coaches fall of the wagon this year? The high school ranks even contributed to the madness. High school coach David Stinson was acquitted for the "accidental" death of a young player in the state of Kentucky.(Max Gilpin was the student lost is life due to heat exhaustion)
It's not like coach Stinson didn't have other examples to go on. I'm sure the widow of the late Corey Stringer could attest to how coach's have some responsibility in making sure players keep their bodies hydrated in such intense heat. Also coaches are responsible for having people on staff that monitor when a coach can't tell the difference between preparing his team and crossing the line. I can appreciate the pressure to win but is winning really the only thing Vince Lombardi? Here's some of the prime suspects of 2k9.
1. Michigan's Rich Rodgriguez
Rich Rodriguez danced around his abuse of the "twenty hour" rule by poorly justifying why he broke the rule in the first place. The players balked at the notion of more practice time considering their other duties like class and some sort of college life. Winning wasn't a by product of this idiotic behavior. Michigan hasn't seen a winning season yet under Rodriguez. If he flops in year three (which is a real possibility) look for a Michigan man(Jim Harbaugh) to be brought in to stop the bleeding. Still full of doubt? Check out Exhibit B.
2. Former Kansas Coach Mark Mangino
According to ESPN.com's Joe Shad, Mangino once scolded a player by using his brothers recent shooting death. The exact words from Mangino after an exchange with the player was "if you don't shut up I'm going to send you back to St. Louis so you can get shot up with the rest of your homies". I wish I was making this up but I'm not. This clown even had the nerve to try and defend his coaching style.
Kansas decided after an "investigation" it was time to part ways with Mangino. Isn't it fair to assume that this mess was happening when Mangino led them to a school record 12 wins in 2007? There are facts that point to his over as far back as 1996 when he was the running backs coach. This guy still managed to move up the ranks with this type of behavior. Is this one of the key components to why Turner Gill got the job at Kansas? Just one of those things that make you go hmmmm.
3. Texas Tech's Mike Leach
Exhibit C starts with the firing of Mike Leach at Texas Tech. I'm sure if enough "investigating" was done this guy could have been fired for silly antics like this a long time ago. Much like any other desperate program, Athletic Directors will sell their children to please the boosters and alumni by delivering wins on Saturday. Ego maniacs aren't born last night but at night. For every Tony Dungy and Bobby Bowden, theirs probably 15 Mark Mangino's and Mike Leach's.
Sure say I'm painting with a broad brush if you want but I'm willing to bet that there's a lot of adults who played for some abusive coaches on all levels. These people probably suffered in silence because what would we as a sportz public tell them? Suck it up! You're not disciplined enough. You're lazy! This is why I believe this problem is more prevalent than what any journalist will dare research and uncover.
As a sportz public we love to see the hammer dropped on the players. When authority figures behave badly we are more likely to defend them than loathe their behavior. Bob Knight got a lengthy pass because of his three national championships. The Indiana A.D. had no choice after the truth about Knight's violent behavior was caught on video. I do recognize that there's always a valiant minority that speak out on these issues but do we listen?
Some national media analyst, former players of Texas Tech ,and columnist even defended Leach by disclosing the kids practice habits as sub par. A guy is recovering from a concussion and the coach and not a Doctor tells your athletic trainer to put this kid in isolated room because it will help him recover faster? Is Leach qualified to prescribe this as a treatment to the concussion symptoms the young man was having? Or was this a case of another egomaniac "cracking the whip"? I'll take egomaniac for a thousand Alex.
Like Don Imus, the firing of Leach wasn't about the incident in question. It is about the bad publicity, the ongoing feud between the administration and Leach, and saving themselves from having to payout an enormous bonus. Nothing worse than having to keep your word to someone you can't stand. Look for Leach and Mangino to have jobs in three years or less. Rumors are already swirling that Leach could replace Mike Tyson, I mean Tom Cable in Oakland.
ESPN or some other major media network will do a follow up story on Mangino in about a year. This fluff piece will attempt to remake the image of a guy who's probably still bad. I know some of the peanut gallery will still say I'm reaching but why is it that Kobe, Ray Lewis, John Daly and Mike Phelps aren't public enemies anymore. For exhibit C do I have to bring up Slick Rick? (not the rapper and not the Nature Boy) Should the fighting pride of Oakland California step up to the podium? Rick Pitino and Tom Cable got off like fat rats. See the pattern yet?
Outside of the state of Kentucky did Slick Rick cause a public outcry for getting some "dessert" at his friend's restaurant? What's wrong with getting some at your friend's restaurant. Yes pervs I'm still talking about dessert. Did Tom Cable's imitation of Mike Tyson's punch out cause much stink outside of Oakland? The answer is no. Much like Pavlov's experiment, the sportz fan can be told virtually what to love, hate and cheer for. So here's to a new season of us accepting the same junk in favor of more wins and less losses. Here's to a new year of the Sportzfam calling it like we see it. Should be a wild ride!!!