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When the tools inherit the earth; or, when good things happen to bad people

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Starman, Feb 13, 2010.

  1. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    In our area, we have a basketball coach who's been here a decade or more (longer, in fact, than I have). For most of those years, he coached both boys and girls basketball (it was possible up until two seasons ago, when the girls season here was switched to the winter) at this one particular school (a rather nondescript middle-level school).

    A couple of constants through all these seasons was that the teams always sucked (in 8 seasons, about 12 seasons of the two teams put together, the best record he ever had with either team was about 7-15, more frequently he was 4-18), they were always poorly prepared and fundamentally sloppy, and the coach always had 10,000 excuses ("we don't have enough time to practice on game situtations in the summer" uh well ya know maybe you would if you would choose one team or the other rather than attempting to do a half-ass job on both), and the coach always maintained the media was out to get him, demanding to know how you were going to write stories, dropping subtle hints like "make sure you mention this", "I want to make sure such-and-such is in the story" etc etc.

    Over the years, the high school made several attempts to force the coach out of one job or the other (or maybe both, in light of the fact that both programs stunk), but a court ruling in his favor meant he could keep both jobs and the school could do little or nothing about it.

    When the girls season was switched to winter, at first he insisted he should continue in both jobs. The school pointed out that the two teams had about a dozen games that directly conflicted, so he could not physically coach both teams. He was given the choice of coaching boys or girls, big surprise, he took the boys. In speaking to the newspapers (us among others), we got all sorts of stuff, "now that i have time to devote to one team you're going to see some amazing things."

    Amazingly enough, there was indeed an immediate result: the girls team, which had been horrible for years, suddenly got decent (not great, but over .500). The boys team which Mr. Coach decided to coach continued to be abysmal (including a 1-21 season). This continued for a couple seasons: girls OK, boys awful. And the sniveling about the media continued.

    Well this year dawned bright and early. In the preseason articles we noticed some strange names, it turned out a couple of exchange students from Eastern Europe had come out for the team. "We'll have to see how they adjust to American basketball, I've only seen them in open gyms a couple of times since practice opened. I didn't even know they were in school," the coach kept saying (apparently completely deadpan).

    Well, they have adjusted OK; they are averaging 20 and 16 ppg and the team is suddenly 14-4. And the coach suddenly thinks he's freaking Coach K or something; really big-dealing it, refusing to answer phone calls, cutting people off in postgame interviews, etc etc. Plus a lot of self-serving, "finally i have a team that plays the way I tell them" shit.

    We checked, and the exchange program was totally legit; the kids were not selected because of basketball ability, and apparently the coach really did have no idea they even existed until the day they walked out on the court for the first practice.

    Plus if they were ringers, a school and coach with a 10-year record of about 45-175 would hardly be the place you'd maneuver yourself for basketball glory. These guys aren't NBA studs in waiting or anything, just pretty good HS players -- the kind of guys who take a mid-level team in a mid-level league from 7-15 to 15-7.

    I guess we'll just have to see what happens next year, when Vikthor and Bronaslau go back to Outer Slamdunkistan and Coach Chittkicker and his fine squad go 3-18 again, if he's still big-dealing it. And the moral of the story is, sometimes good things happen to bad people.

  2. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Active Member

    Cool story. How do you get to outer slamdunkistan?
  3. albert77

    albert77 Well-Known Member

    You can actually coach both boys and girls, and several pretty good coaches do it here, including some who've won state championships with both. It's possible because high school basketball games in Mississippi are almost always girls-boys doubleheaders until the playoffs, and even then it's doable in many cases (not always, though).

    Of course, that does nothing to address your issue with what sounds like a real prize-winner of a guy. You have my sympathy.
  4. fossywriter8

    fossywriter8 Active Member

    You can either drive baseline or drive the lane.
  5. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    Even though I haven't lived there since 2002, it still pisses me off that a lawsuit forced Michigan to change its girls' sports seasons. I thought it worked great having girls B-ball in the fall and the volleyball/boys B-ball combo in the winter.

    Plus, both girls' sports received better coverage that way.

    But hey, a handful of girls had a harder time getting D-I volleyball scholarships, so to hell with everyone else ...
  6. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    I agree...

    But am wondering if I should take this team in The Syndicate this year....
  7. TrooperBari

    TrooperBari Active Member

    When do those positions come up for renewal? Everywhere I've been, those extra service contracts for coaches come up on an annual basis. If an administration didn't want to keep someone, all it would have to do is let the contract expire and throw it open for applications.
  8. Ben_Hecht

    Ben_Hecht Active Member

    Saw the title of the thread, and thought this was going to be about Brownie.
  9. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    It's complicated; the CBA with the teachers' union specifies full-time teachers get priority for all coaching positions, and there's also some semi-tenureish provision where coaches who have served more than a couple seasons get to keep their jobs unless the AD can show cause they need to be replaced (chronic disastrous losing seasons as I understand it is admissable as one cause although they have to show others too).

    Plus the coaching job is not really much of a plum; not many people apply for it so as long as this guy wants it, he pretty much gets to keep it. The AD and most of the parents were desperately hoping for another 2-19 season -- a 4-year record of 14-72 would probably do it. Now that he's gonna probably go 16-6 or something in that neighborhood, that's out the window.
  10. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    There was an article recently about how the changes affected scholarships.

    It found the number of Michigan girls receiving scholarships actually went down. It also found that surprise, surprise attendance was down for both boys and girls basketball.

    The Grand Rapids mothers that brought the lawsuit responded with something like, it will be a cold day in hell before we believe any numbers from the MHSAA.

    I';ll see if I can find a link to that story.
  11. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    Here's the link. It was from the Freep.

  12. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the link, Hank. Good stuff from McCabe; for all the reasons everyone argued when the lawsuit came out, the girls have it worse after the switch.

    BTW, thanks to Mick, I still think of CMU's hometown as "Mount Dismal" :)
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