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A sportswriting first

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by sportsguydave, Jun 6, 2009.

  1. sportsguydave

    sportsguydave Active Member

    Hey guys..

    What are your thoughts on a coach who ... upon winning his school's first-ever sectional baseball championship, has nothing to say??

    I ran across this situation earlier this week ... Approaching the coach after the game with two other writers, said coach turned and said, "Sorry, guys, I have nothing to say ..."

    I did interview some players ... seniors, so I got some color for my story ... but dang!!

    Same deal today at the regional tournament ... after the game (they lost) coach did all he could to avoid me ... I finally tracked him down as they were nearing the bus and said, "Hey, coach ... any comment today?"

    "No," he said. And as I turned to walk away, he added, "And what I say to the team is off the record."

    No shit!! I never use what a coach says to the team in a story, unless a coach says it's okay.

    Talked to the AD afterward. The coach is a new one .. older guy. AD's excuse: "He's out of his comfort zone." WTF???

    So tonight, this guy will get the big fat "declined to comment," which never looks good. I avoided putting that in the story the other night because I didn't want to rain on the team's parade. A bunch of good kids.

    It kind of pisses me off. We have enough things making our job difficult these days. We don't need it from coaches, too.
  2. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member

    First off, and think hard: Did you do or write anything to piss these guys off?

    If not, then they are just morons. Do your best to work without them, but your bosses need to get in the ADs ear.

    My advice would be to not cover these teams if the coaches refuse to talk to you. The parents will get pissed at you. Once you tell them what the deal is, they'll be pissed at the coach.

    I'll bet he's begrudgingly answering your questions in a week.
  3. sportsguydave

    sportsguydave Active Member


    I don't think it's us. He even refused to say anything to the local homer weekly after the sectional win. So I don't really know what his deal is.

    This was their last game for this season, so we're done until next season. Your point's well taken, though as far as not covering teams with coaches who don't play ball. I just don't like to punish the kids for the knucklehead actions of their coaches.
  4. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Go talk to him.
    He may be out of his comfort zone. Try to figure out why. Explain why his comments are important.

    The fact that he knows enough to toss out "off the record" indicates he probably knows more than his AD thinks he knows about the media.
  5. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I had a colleague long ago who asked a high school soccer coach if he had a minute, and the coach told him: "I have no minutes for you."
  6. sportsguydave

    sportsguydave Active Member


    That was my thinking. Any guy who knows of the term "off the record" is pretty media-savvy. It's not a term the general public is usually familiar with. So I'm not inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt here.

    Coaches don't always have something compelling to say, and there has been many a time when I haven't used quotes because they didn't add anything to the story. But I would have thought a guy would be all over talking about his team's first-ever championship. I can understand the occasional not wanting to comment after a tough loss or some such thing. But on general principle...

    I mean, hell. It's not like I'm a foaming-at-the-mouth member of the New York media or something. I'm a sportswriter for a small daily in Indiana. Sheesh.
  7. Most coaches are pricks. There's your answer.
  8. jlee

    jlee Well-Known Member

    At least he's not barring his players from talking, too. That would be a drag.

    There's plenty of coaches around here who hate to "steal the spotlight" from the players. That might be the deal. We try to explain to them that a coach's insight helps us understand the game better and interview the players.
  9. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Not really. A lawyer friend who has become a a bit of a nutcase pitched an idiotic idea to me last week and in the same e-mail said some part of it was "off the record." No it isn't. It's not off the record unless I agree it's off the record before you tell me. Lots of people know the term but don't know what it means.
  10. sportsguydave

    sportsguydave Active Member


    Good point. Just a feeling I have about this particular guy. I think he just doesn't like the media for whatever reason ... don't know how a first-ever head coach would develop that idea, but whatever.
  11. SCEditor

    SCEditor Active Member

    Did this guy talk to you during the regular season? If he talked to you during the regular season and now he's not talking, I'd bet he said something that ticked off a parent regarding their child (whether it be lauding one child and not mentioning another, or any other variety of stupid stuff parents get worked up about). I'm very fortunate to work in an area where 99.9 percent of our coaches are fantastic to deal with. But even I'm amazed at the arrows these coaches have to dodge when dealing with 15 different sets of parents. I've got a few coaches in my area who I personally feel bad for just because of the brief moments I've had to deal with their whackjob parents.
  12. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    Had you, and your paper, covered the baseball team (in person) at all prior to the school winning its first sectional championship? How had the coach handled comments/questions previously?

    What did the homer weekly, which it sounds like had maybe given more coverage than you did, have to say about the coach not talking? Was that the coach's standard operating procedure with that paper?

    As for your leading question at the regional tournament, it was bound to result in the answer you got, especially given the scenario.
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