Coaches you donít have to censor before allowing your children to
Remember when it was cute to watch coaches prowl the sidelines like
tigers at the county zoo? When guys like Rollie Massimino, Jim Valvano
and Lefty Driesell would be up yelling, screaming, gesturing, gyrating
and every other motion possible seemingly before the opening tip?
Yeah, that was a long time ago, wasnít it?
Not that itís always wrong being animated on the sideline, but itís
an act that has grown older and older. Every time I see Mike
Krzyzewski, it seems he goes berserk as soon as two straight calls go
against his team. And this is from a guy who is considered the epitome
of class in college basketball.
If a guy considered classy is this way, what about the ďfieryĒ
guys? Good riddance.
Working the officials is as much an annoyance as watching all these
crossover dribbles that are allowed but should be illegal (hi, Allen
Iverson). Itís something that wouldnít hurt the game one bit if it
were extinct, or at least toned down a great deal.
Sadly, itís almost necessary evil now, because if one coach baits,
the other coach almost has to or risks getting trampled by
Admittedly, sometimes it is entertaining if done in a fun way,
because it shows that a coach cares. It would still be nice to see it
Itís also a fat chance that thatíll happen anytime soon. So, hereís
an effort to try to point out some guys who generally ARE well-behaved
during a game. None of them are perfect, and almost all are prone to
an occasional blow-up, but itís not something that happens every, say,
TV timeout. Generally, these guys conduct themselves with class. They
may not be quite as fun to watch, but at least they show you donít
have to run the perimeter of the court to get a point across or be
involved in the game.
1. Bob Williams, UC Santa Barbara. Aha! And you thought another
Williams would be at the top of this list...in the words of Lee Corso,
not so fast, my friend. Roy Williams slips down this list, if only
because there are times when it seems his reputation is cultivated a
tad too much and you really wonder if heís as clean as they say (read
the book ďSole InfluenceĒ by Dan Wetzel and Don Yaeger to find what is
meant by that). Bob Williams doesnít have to worry as much about
cultivating an image because heís located in the Big West Conference,
which mattered nationally 10 years ago but doesnít now. Heís very
professorial looking, with his rimmed glasses and completely un-Quin
Snyder-like hair. He also dresses the part, looking like he just came
to the game from a brokerage firm. Heís generally incredibly calm on
the sideline, rarely animated and usually only yelling to give
instruction. Heís not a ref-baiter, either, and thatís very admirable.
On top of all that, heís not too shabby of a coach-he took the Gauchos
to the NCAA Tournament last year and won a Division II title at UC
Davis before coming to Santa Barbara. Maybe heís just got us all
fooled, but he sure seems like a coach whose behavior might actually
be worth role modeling.
2. Mark Few, Gonzaga. Always looks calm as the eye of the storm.
Another coach who doesnít use arguing with officials to try to upstage
the game. He lost a point or two last year for his constant
complaining off the court about the West Coast Conference Tournament
not being awarded to regular season champs, but more often than not
heís right on the money when he does chirp. Itís refreshing to see a
coach who doesnít have to berate players or officials to get his point
3. Al Walker, Binghamton. Walker is another guy who just minds his
teamís business on the sideline. Like Bob Williams, he will yell to
his players but usually not at them. He also doesnít go overboard
blasting officials-again, he will voice displeasure when necessary,
but doesnít devote most of the game to screaming. A little unorthodox
in his dressing-looks like he wears t-shirts under his sportcoats. At
least they arenít those goofy-looking mock turtlenecks like Mike Brey
of Notre Dame wears (yuck!). A good guy to watch on the sidelines, and
heís also doing a terrific job building a young Division I program.
4. Phil Martelli, St. Josephís. How can a guy so funny be so
unanimated on the sideline? Who knows, but Martelli almost always has
the same stature while watching a game: arms folded, facing the action
but not saying much, and when he does it looks like completely
conversational. Phil isnít perfect, and has been known to draw
technical fouls. He also can be demonstrative on occasion, but
generally conducts himself well. He and Dana Altman are good examples
of how you can be into the game without trying to take it over. Itís
also doubtful few know nationally exactly how good of coaches these
5. Herb Sendek, N.C. State. How many times has the media used the
term ďstoicĒ to describe Sendek? More than we can count. Honestly, his
teams are not fun to watch, not half as entertaining as his Miami
(Ohio) teams. He isnít fun to watch either, but thatís o.k. Itís a
welcome change from a Rick Pitino or Gary Williams making their way
from one bench area to the other. Sendek seems like a genuinely nice
guy, and itís too bad he doesnít have more success at State.
5b. Roy Williams, Kansas. Usually heís fairly docile on the
sidelines, but sometimes Roy can dish it out to his players or the men
in stripes with the best. (Itís funny how when a Bobby Knight yells,
heís a jerk, but when a Roy Williams or Mike Krzyzewski yells, he
Ďwants to win.í) Whether itís fake or real, though, weíll give
Williams credit because he makes a much better effort at class than
the majority of major school coaches, and heís almost always a
stand-up guy when his team loses.
Jim Platt, Charleston Southern-Seems like one of the nicest guys in
Mike McDonald, Canisius-Ditto.
Tim Buckley, Ball State-An up-and-comer who seems to respect his
current job and isnít just positioning himself for the next available
Todd Lickliter, Butler-A lot like Buckley.
Charlie Coles, Miami (Ohio)-One of those wise men you wish you
could have telling your children stories of the past.
Charlie Spoonhour, UNLV-Rebels could not have made a better hire
Bob Marlin, Sam Houston State-Youíd swear that was Merrill Hoge,
the NFL analyst, on the Bearkat bench.
John Phillips, Tulsa-Is he too nice to win at Tulsa? We sure hope