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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Over Staying Your Welcome

When I recently watched the ESPN special featuring Joe Paterno and Mike Krzyzewski like everyone else I had some thoughts and opinions.

Of course per usual when he is involved in any ESPN production, the best part of the show was host Rece Davis. Is there anything that guy can't do?  He is simply the best studio host in broadcasting right now and in my opinion the best of all time. If a young person wants to go into broadcasting just watch and copy Rece Davis and you will be a success.

Back to my thoughts. It is hard for myself to watch Coach K on anything. I have heard way too many negative things about him and have never been a big fan. It is hard to watch Joe Paterno period. I use to be a big fan, always rooted for Penn State, I do not anymore as Paterno has stayed too long. It is painful to watch him be interviewed, it is also painful to watch him on the sidelines. Of course we all know he has a great staff and they are running the program, Coach Paterno just stands there, literally.

When it comes to college basketball, I am a firm believer that coaches should move often, especially when they are riding the crest of success. Of course there are a few exceptions. Coach K when it comes to wins and losses is an example, but we often forget, he even took a year off to get healthy and recharge his batteries back in the early 90s.

Maybe it is because I am old, but I have seen too many coaches stay at the same place too long, only to not only wear out their welcome, but go from successful years, to poor years and lose their job. Staying is your profession for a long time is great, staying at the same place your asking for trouble.

Fans, boosters and administrations are fickle. In sports if your not successful, everyone will turn on you in a heartbeat.

Perfect example, ex-Oregon coach Ernie Kent. In the early 2000s Kent was the hottest coaching name in the country, he could have had lots of jobs that were waiting for him to accept. He chose to stay with the Ducks, in 2011,  after being ousted by Oregon in 2010, he couldn't even get a decent interview for a basketball head coaching job. Sticking on the west coast, Mike Montgomery stayed too long at Stanford, now being at Cal, some  people do not even know he is still in coaching. I even worry about Wayne Tinkle at Montana, a really good coach, is he going to stay too long with the Griz and not move when he should.

As mentioned above there are some exceptions to staying too long in the same place. I have written about two of them, Danny Miles and Brad Jackson. Both of these coaches have sustained the test of time and continue to be at the top of their games and their role in shaping young people's lives goes way beyond coaching basketball and obviously quality of life means just as much as making big bucks. I do have a feeling both of them will know when it is a good time to retire and I also have a strong feeling both of them will be real active doing lots of volunteer work and helping lots of people upon their retirement.

Speaking of retirement, in basketball it should also apply to referees. Because the money is so great,  more and more we are seeing referees stay too long. Jim Burr and Tim Higgins, who were both involved in the debacle at the Big East tournament last year and literally were fired from working any more games in the tournament,  have stayed too long. They can't cover the court and actually often embarrass themselves in games. It is time for them to be off the court and evaluating officials, not working games.

Retirement is always a touchy subject for everyone. What I don't want to see is someone else making the decision for you to retire or even worse be fired.

Sports even has its own set of unwritten rules. Move when your a success, do not wear out your welcome and retire before you become an embarrassment. And don't forget, even when you do retire, plenty of people are looking for your great skills in the volunteer field.

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