If you rely on News Feed in Facebook to find my posts, you're missing most of them. On average, only 16% of updates in Facebook make it into News Feeds. Let me suggest that you subscribe to me in Facebook, follow me on Twitter (@ccengct), or use an RSS reader.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Coaches who don't behave

The video of Jim Boeheim, basketball coach at Syracuse University, going berserk several weeks ago reminds me that coaches at all levels -- children, high school, college, professional, and amateur -- must maintain self-control. Otherwise, athletes and fans will not be able to control themselves, either. Boeheim did not behave as badly as Bobby Knight or Woody Hayes did, but there's no place and no excuse for a coach throwing a temper tantrum like his. Besides, if he's capable of doing that in public, I have to wonder how he treats his athletes behind closed doors.

Anger and frustration are emotions. They are natural; we are wired to feel them. I'm not suggesting that coaches or anyone else attempt to live an emotion-free life or even try to be emotion-free on the job. But I believe that coaches should express their emotions in carefully measured tones in the manner of John Wooden or Bear Bryant. Nobody ever accused Wooden or Bryant of being robots, yet they never embarrassed themselves or their players. Another example of a high-profile coach who stays on his side of the foul line -- although he gets very close on occasion -- is Mike Krzyzewski. Yesterday a Duke player was beaten out on a rebound. It was easy to read Coach K's lips as the player went to the bench: "You can't let that happen." Coach K was hot alright, but the message to the player was clear and respectful.

To make things worse, Boeheim is age 69. Adolph Rupp was forced to retire at 70. Joe Paterno stayed on the job far too long. We don't need geriatrics in college athletics. I'd like to see mandatory retirement at 65 for all college coaches. Wooden retired voluntarily at 64; that's how it should be. Of course, university administrators who are addicted to money from athletics don't want to see that. Neither do fat-cat alumni who relive their youth vicariously through sports or who can't imagine life without the modern equivalent of tribal warfare.

March Madness is a registered trademark of the NCAA. Let's not take it literally.