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Pissed off coaches

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by KYSportsWriter, Nov 3, 2006.

  1. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    There's an assistant coach in my town that's pissed about a recruiting article I wrote last week. He said I made two of that team's players "feel small" with the comments I used from the head coach. I simply reported what the coach told me and that's that.

    I go into the coaching office to interview the head coach and the AC starts berating me, saying things like "that was the worst fucking article I've read by you. You're wearing (county school's) jock (or something to that effect) and it's a good thing you're leaving." (I'm leaving in two weeks for a new job, so...)

    What I want to know is how you deal with pissed off coaches. What do you do to get back on their good side or do you just ignore the problem altogether?
  2. Clever username

    Clever username Active Member

    Since you're leaving, and if you don't mind burning bridges, fuck 'em. Feed him fish heads.
  3. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Just ignore and let him vent. Unless he gets physical or threatens to, it's best to ignore that bullshit.
  4. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    Just the way he said it all made me angry. All the other coaches in the office were like "what the fuck are you talking about?" when he went on his tirade. Apparently he's the only that felt that way because I talked to the players in question and they're still cool with me.

    I can't fucking wait to get out of this town.
  5. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    When you leave, send him a jock with that other school's logo.
  6. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the laugh, Dye. And the great idea. :D
  7. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    Attach a note saying, "your wife asked me to return this when I was done with it, please tell her thanks."
  8. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    ky - you're going to be deeply disappointed in this business if you allow something like this to play on your mind.

    i tell my people that i didn't get into this business to take shit from anyone, and that i don't expect them to take shit, either. next time something like that happens and you don't feel like being confrontational, simply look said asshole in the eye and ask him "is this on record?" it sends a clear message his antics could come back and bite him in the ass.
  9. Crimson Tide

    Crimson Tide Member

    Assistant coach threw a piss party my way tonight for a gamer I wrote last week.

    The setup: Opening round, state football playoffs. Hometown beats Podunk 24-20. Podunk had a TD called back in the second quarter because of three penalties on one play -- two holds and unsportsman (running back pranced into the end zone from five yards out).

    Could have been a different outcome had the TD not been called back, so I wrote it that way. Hometown catches a break and turned the ensuing turnover into points.

    Tonight: Hometown assistant coach bitching "you made it sound like it was the only reason why we won."

    Me: "Well, it didn't hurt that Podunk's return man fumbled the ball inside your 20 near the end of the fourth either. That was also in the story, you know."

    Shuts him up real fast.
  10. sartrean

    sartrean Member

    Like some have said, if you can't handle that, you need to go over to news, where you'll never run into a pissed off politician.

    Seriously speaking here, Tom Petty has a great response, but it's only effective in your case, I believe -- since you are leaving this paper. You have no worries about future access.

    I apologize to pissed prep coaches. In one instance, a coach had problems with a story done in the pre-season, and he never mentioned it to me until like a year later. I told him I wished he had brought it to my attention first, so that way I could have run a correction, if one were warranted, or could have written a follow up story.

    I also invited this one coach to write a letter to the editor, yet he didn't want to do that.

    I treat these coaches well, because their jobs suck, too. If they see you as fair and "on their side" as much as possible, they'll call you in the middle of the night and let you know how they were forced out when the time comes. And that's a good story to have written.

    Also, coaches have gotten pissed at me for writing stuff in briefs about their team. Generally these are the coaches never return my calls, refuse to provide me with adequate information on a timely and consistent basis. This is where I become rather assertive.

    I calmly tell them that they have my phone numbers, yet I have not heard from them until this point. I explain to them that I have left them messages, and if I could get as much as a 10 minute phone call each week, then they could "control" what gets in the paper about their team.

    I usually explain how I have 15 or so schools to cover, which is darned near impossible, and their 10 minute or so phone calls each week comprise much of the information about every team in the paper. And tell them I am not perfect, and rely on their cooperation in order to get the job done. When they don't cooperate, I don't see that they have any reason to bitch.

    One coach was so fucking stupid, he had no idea that a letter to the editor is something that is printed. We printed his letter, blasting me out, blaming me for black death.

    My editor put a note on the end of it that explained that this coach was the most uncooperative coach in the paper's coverage area. That we had a record of 100 or more phone calls that were not returned in just a few months time, and the only reason we still included his team in the coverage area was because of the countless emails we got from parents requesting coverage -- and this football team wasn't bad. It really made the coach look like an idiot, and despite consecutive 11-2 records, and more than 100 wins in like 12 years, this guy was fired.

    It involved other things, mainly he was a poor representative of the school district, or so the school board said when they surprised everyone by announcing in a press release that his contract had not been renewed. So he pissed others off, in addition to myself while trying to cover his team for two seasons.

    But, explain when you need to, that you're human, you make mistakes, and you need their help to get the "right" information about their team in the paper. It helps them to help you, or that's my opinion. Also let them know that they can call you and complain, without fear of retaliation. It aids access for future juicy tidbits. Treat them with respect and fairness, and you'll get the same in return.

    This method has worked very well for me, sometimes to the point where I became very good friends with some coaches, football, baseball and basketball. In one small town, a weekly I worked at, I was regularly invited to Sunday afternoon barbeques at one coaches house. After a while, I finally accepted and when I got there, lo and behold, several coaches from other schools (along with their families) were there as well. It was kind of fun to drink beer and hang out with them, and I got lots of good information from them -- nothing that was on the record -- but stuff that let me forsee things that were coming down the pipeline, i.e. star player for Podunk won't be there next season because he's addicted to oxycontin, long time coach is retiring b/c he's got cancer, several kids were arrested for pulling pranks, kicked off winning football team that slid in the polls after the kids were booted, and a whole host of tidbits on some of the unethical practices going on in this state's school system.

    This kind of knowledge provided me with future questions to certain people that was on the record. It allowed me to know who to ask and what to ask. So dealing with pissed off coaches is tricky business. When you do it poorly, as some have done that I know of, you get nothing in the future and run the risk of the competition beating you on everything.
  11. Gob Bluth

    Gob Bluth Member

    I wrote a column a couple weeks ago and I pissed off one of the teams in my area. I didn't write anything that wasn't true, and actually I was pretty kind. It could have been much worse, but I didn't want to bring too much bad feelings from them. Gues that didn't work. I didn't have to cover them for a couple weeks and when I did it felt odd.
    I didn't think I had anything to be sorry for. I never singled out a kid, just overall things for the teams in our area. But, I said I was sorry and didn't mean any malice. He kind of blew me off. I learned long ago that you can't make everybody happy in this business.
  12. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    If I piss a coach off, that is one thing. But when a coach pisses ME off, that is quite another.

    I keep score.

    Right now I am 4-0 where I pick my battles.
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