Second Thoughts On The Coach K Situation

It's beginning to bother me that my initial reaction to events is one way, but the opposite when I am able to give the matter some thought. It happened with JR Smith when I decided it was a good thing he did not come to UNC after I was initially disappointed that he was not coming. Well, it's happened again. I talking about the recent situation where Coach K was offered more money than my mind can process to be the Head Coach for the LA Lakers. My initial reaction was good riddance, but after giving the matter some thought, I am glad he is staying a Duke. It just wouldn't be as good without him there for me to dislike ( I started to say hate but that is too strong a word). It's still just a game even if some of us from time to time make it more than that.

The rationale for my thinking is as follows:
Carolina basketball is on the upswing and I have absolutely no doubt that we will regain our position as one the nation's elite programs. It won't be a straight shot and we may never reclaim the position of dominance we enjoyed under Coach Smith. But we are on the right track.

Whether we like it or not, success with the Carolina basketball program is judged, to a great extent, on how we do against Duke. We will start winning more against Duke, and I want Coach K there when it happens. Don't misunderstand what I have said. I'm not saying we are going to dominate Duke, but we will reach the point where we will be truly competitive in the games with them, and I believe we will win our share. It just wouldn't be the same without Coach K there. Had he left, can't you hear the Duke people using his leaving as an excuse for every disappointment they might experience. It's sort of like playing a team with one of their players injured. There just isn't as much pleasure involved unless you beat the team who has no excuses.

What I have said above reminds me of a story I once heard about an incident many years ago at a Maryland-Clemson football game in Death Valley. After the game, a Clemson fan, rushed up to Jim Tatum and was threatening to do him bodily harm. I can't remember who won but it sounds like Maryland might have. Frank Howard interceded and got in between the disgruntled fan and Tatum. He then admonished the Clemson fan by saying words to the effect of "You wouldn't even be here at the game if it wasn't for Coach Tatum" That must have hurt because Howard and Tatum were not admirers of each other but it does speak well for Coach Howard who was much more intelligent that his on-the-field persona would have you believe. So, in summary, maybe Coach K, for me at least, is someone that I love to hate, oops, there I have gone and used the dreaded "h" word after earlier saying it was too strong to express my feelings.

I don't know Coach K. He may be a fine fellow, but based on his TV behavior, he does not pass my "I think I would like to have a beer with him" test. Why the ACC, hear me John Swofford, allows him to run his little intimidation show for all the world to see is beyond my comprehension. Even if he doesn't technically violate any rules, it shows contempt for the officials and shouldn't be allowed.

Apologists for Coach K say that every coach "works" the officials and I agree. I know of no other coach, however, who stands for an entire time out and stares at an official whom Coach K thinks has been treating his team unfairly. Not every violation is in the rule book. I don't believe there is a rule against giving the choke sign, but you can bet your bottom dollar a "T" will be called when it is given. The reason officials don't call a "T" against Coach K is they feel there will be repercussions and that's when the Commissioner needs to step in.

I have expressed my feelings regarding Coach K before so I wont bore you any further.

One other thing. An article appeared on the web site of the New Republic on July 7th entitled " K-Turn, The Case Against Coach K." It is so complicated to secure permission to repost copyrighted material that I have decided to link this one for those who would like to read it. The author has written critically about Coach K before but he is no novice in the field of journalism. He has been at the New Public for 7 years and is currently an Associate Editor. If you are interested, you can Google his name and see an article he wrote on March 6, 2001 entitled " The Blue Devils Aren't Angels." Just so you will know, he is not a graduate of a rival ACC school. Mr. Zengerle is a graduate of Swarthmore College.

The web address for the New Republic is: www.newrepublic.com  You do have to subscribe to the site to view the article. Scroll down several days and you will find the article. A viewer was kind enough to call this gem to my attention