Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Monday, September 25, 2023
Blake Duffin

Column: College basketball coaches need to control their tempers, and fast

A recent and unfortunate trend in college basketball right now is the on-court behavior by coaches.

Within the past couple of weeks, three coaches within the country’s top-25 teams were ejected from their respective games.

Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin, Kentucky’s John Calipari and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim all fell victim to the inability to control their tempers on the basketball court.

Boeheim stampeded the court like a ravaged fan storming the court, momentarily wearing his suit coat like a cape in the process. Cronin screamed bloody murder to the ref, while Calipari immediately un-tucked his shirt and threw a fit. I’m not sure why taking clothing off is the first thought of these coaches, but that is beside the point.

While I think most people agree that these coaches may have had reason for being upset, I think everyone can agree that the behavior of these coaches is completely unacceptable.

First of all, these coaches are father-like figures to their players, and role models for children, adults and aspiring coaches everywhere. Acting like an infant after he got his toy taken away does not set a good example for the millions of people that probably see these coaches behavior.

Anyone in the spotlight, especially names like Boeheim and Calipari, need to hold themselves accountable for their actions. Any competitor can understand the anxiety, stress and excitement that goes into an athletic event, but there has to come a point when coaches realize that there are more important notions at stake. No basketball win can do what being a respectful teacher and mentor to these student-athletes can. In other words, the impressions that a coach leaves on a player or audience won’t be by a single win, but by the values that they preach, practice and instill in their players.

Marquette’s Buzz Williams is a great example of a coach that puts the success and growth of his players, from kids to young men, before the teams wins and loss column.

In addition to setting good examples, coaches need to have a better respect for the refereess and the game itself.

Referees don’t barge into a teams huddle and yell at the coaches for doing a bad job, and coaches shouldn’t tell the referees how to do their job either. I understand there are upsetting and wrong calls made. There is a right way to respond to this, and a wrong way.

The right way is by pulling the ref aside at a time out and explaining to him or her the problem with the call. By doing this, you are setting a good example for onlookers and still getting your point across. I have yet to see a call get changed from a coach yelling at a referee, so what’s the use?

Keeping this composure may be easier said than done, but coaches need to find a common ground and a level of respect for the referees, who in my opinion have the toughest and most high-pressure job in sports.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Daily Cardinal delivered to your inbox

Making a scene on the basketball court in front of millions of people leads to nothing but regret.

Talk to any coach after an ejection and I can almost guarantee the first words out of his mouth will be somewhere along the lines of “regrettable” or “immature”.

In the end, there are two feasible steps that can be taken to improve the standard of behavior by college basketball coaches. The first step is for the NCAA to enact more strict punishment for coaches that are ejected from games. This could be more frequent suspensions, or maybe not allowing them to practice with the team for a set length of time. It should be something strict enough to actually make coaches think twice about their behavior.

Secondly and most obviously, coaches need to hold themselves accountable. The NCAA prides itself on sportsmanship, and the faces of college basketball can’t be the ones setting a poor example.

It’s not just ejections that are the problem. Walking halfway onto the court (Tom Izzo) isn’t exactly what I consider good coaching behavior either.

It is uncertain to me if anything will be done in response to the recent flair of ejections, but hopefully the rise of the topic in the media will make coaches more aware of the issue, at least.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Daily Cardinal has been covering the University and Madison community since 1892. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2023 The Daily Cardinal