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All Best-Behaved Coaches Team

CHN Coaching Week

by Adam Glatczak

February 27th, 2003

Coaches you donít have to censor before allowing your children to watch

Coaches you donít have to censor before allowing your children to watch

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 too-impressionable referees.

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 go away.

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.

Bob Williams1. 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.

Mark Few2. 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 across.

Al Walker3. 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 guys are.

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.

 

Others

Jim Platt, Charleston Southern-Seems like one of the nicest guys in coaching

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 bigger opening.

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 than Spoonhour.

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 not.


 

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