When Coaches Attack


Nate Jervey
Assistant Sports Information Director

This Thursday, at 9:00 pm TruTV will be debuting a new series called “When Coaches Attack.” The premise is simple, footage of athletic coaches going ballistic on one another, their players and the media. Bobby Knight is slated to host the 30-minute program and provided blow-by-blow commentary of each incident caught on tape.


No, that is not happening, but given some recent incidents of coaches behaving badly some of the execs at TruTV may want to look into the possibilities of such a program. I am sure that many of you saw the fracas between Jim Schwartz of the Detroit Lions and Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday. For those who haven’t watch THIS.

Pretty despicable right? Sure, Harbaugh may have slapped Schwartz a little hard on the back during the postgame handshake, but Schwartz’s reaction was asinine. He looked like a Jack Russell Terrier nipping at a jogger’s heels as he chased Harbaugh up the tunnel trying to get into his face. While not overly violent or physical, Schwartz’s reaction provided a textbook definition of how not to diffuse a situation. All of that could have been resolved with a phone call Monday morning asking for an explanation. Simple as that. I get that Schwartz is a fiery guy – watch him on the sidelines some time, he is as exuberant a coach as there is in the NFL – but that does not excuse his actions. Furthermore, what has he done to his credibility with his players? The next time he is imploring his guys during a game to keep their composure and remain calm, where does his authority come from? “Right coach, like that time you kept yours and ran after Harbaugh?”

Coaches serve as mentors for their players and are supposed to set a good example, particularly the younger the participants get, and it seems that across all levels of sport, coaches are acting more and more like toddlers in the midst of a temper tantrum. A simple google search will yield plenty of videos, new releases, photos, you name it recounting the poor decision making of the adults charged with mentoring our youth.

Division III athletics and W&L is not immune to seeing this happen as well. I can remember a home game several years ago, when after a resounding win for the Generals, the opposing coach took exception to something that happened on the court and berated our head coach during the postgame handshake. I was always under the impression that the handshake was an opportunity portray a certain level of sportsmanship, not use its as a forum to air your grievances.

There was also a recent run-in with an opposing coach, who despite being notoriously surly, took his surliness to new heights recently and cemented himself in my personal pantheon of difficult coaches.

Who can forget this moment in Coaching Blowups

I feel that this deterioration of coaching tact, has often been overlooked as players running amok of the law and the NCAA seems to be on the rise. But, with a spike in questionable decision-making by amateur and professional athletes alike, isn’t there a greater need than ever for even-keeled coaches? We need more Mike Tomlins, Phil Jacksons and Joe Torres and fewer Bobby Knights, Jim Schwartzs and Jeff Van Gundys (remember him hanging on Alonzo Mourning’s leg during a Knicks-Heat brawl a few years back? If not, google that as well.)


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