I hear a lot during the season about coaches. Being one of them and part of that exclusive fraternity of past and present college guys, I’m quick to stand up for most of them. Not all, but most.
Recently on Twitter I made comments backing Tim Miles of Nebraska. “Unless you understand everything that is involved in building and maintaining a Power 5 conference program, then it’s only your opinion. Those who stand in the fire will tell you the job he’s done at Nebraska. I’m amused at how effortless “moving up to the next level” seems!”
The issue with sports is that EVERYONE seems to feel warranted to express an opinion and be taken seriously. If I walked into NASA and begin talking about a technique I saw on the Discovery Channel and how it would help us get to Pluto by next July, I don’t think I’d be taken seriously.
So what’s my point?
I’m glad you asked!
What makes a “good” or “bad” college coach? First of all I’ll say that it’s not just one thing. Brilliance in a subject matter doesn’t guarantee the person would be an excellent teacher. Just as a coach with big time X and O abilities isn’t necessary an adept teacher on the floor.
Let’s fast forward to the bottom line; winning! We all agree on that……but. The but comes into play because not all programs are created equally. Winning at Slippery Rock, Stetson, and Longwood, may be different than winning at Duke, Michigan, and Louisville. All programs are different in many respects, hence my comments about Tim Miles at Nebraska. If all you do is look at their current 3-5 Big 10 record, you could say he’s not the guy. But, if you step back and examine the Big 10 this year and study the history of Nebraska basketball before the Miles Era up to the current day, you’d see things in a whole new light.
The word “coach” is actually made up of many parts including; character, visionary, public figure, recruiter, staff builder, on campus presence, communicator, media relations ability, fund raiser, representative of the overall university, image maker, ability to work smart, creative, process driven, priority placement, and of course, a guy that knows the game and knows how to teach the skills, design practice, and create a program’s DNA for playing the game of basketball.
And yes, I coach has to win………but be careful to define “win” when using that word or lambasting coaches as not being good enough or “the guy” to get us to the next level.
What the hell is the Next Level anyway? What is winning? What is “getting it done?”