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It’s all about change - sigh! PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, March 15, 2014 8:00 PM

By JIM METCALFE

Sports Editor

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One of the things I have gotten used to — whether I want to or not — is the constant changeover in the coaching ranks in high school sports.

I have been covering sports now since August of 1990 and though I understand that there aren’t many of my old “friends” left from when I started, it’s amazing how many of my new “friends” come and go so quickly.

That not only includes coaches but my colleagues in the business.

I get the fact that since we are such a much more upwardly-mobile society, men and women have to jump at the chance to reach higher in their careers: after all, if you can move up in the coaching ranks and perhaps move to a different location that you’ve always wanted to live at, heck, go for it.

It’s just a reality that change — for good or ill — is the stuff of life. It depends on your frame of mind what you think about it and how you roll with it.

As I have written before, enjoy the coaches that have seemed to be around forever or were at one school for decade upon decade — a Dick Kortokrax at Kalida, for example, or the late Bob Arnzen at St. John’s — because we aren’t going to see coaching horses like that anymore, especially at this level of high school.

Heck, how many upper-level high school coaches — think Robert Hughes at Dunbar High in Fort Worth, Texas, or Morgan Wootten at DeMatha High School, who stand as the all-time leaders in basketball wins at any level with 1,333 and 1,274 (1,466), respectively — stay around THAT long?

An aside here: that’s an awful lot of wins and an awful lot of games to coach to get there!

Back to the story.

Extend that question to college basketball or football, especially in the blue-chip programs. Whatever you think about a Jim Boeheim or Coach K or a Geno Auriemma, they built lasting legacies because they didn’t just jump at the Next Big Thing but stayed with their heart.

I am sure all three have had offers as soon as they started having real success and just said no, they were where they belonged and really wanted to be.

They bring to mind legendary figures like Adolph Rupp, Dean Smith, Bobby Knight and Pat Summitt, who built almost mythical legacies in their years at one school.

Pressure? What pressure?

Someone doesn’t like me? Who cares?

They had an almost innate ability to not let anything bother them.

However, men and women like that are few and far between any more; the vast majority of head coaches will have been at more than one or two institutions before he/she hangs up the whistles for good.

Let’s face it, too: the money involved in sports these days — specifically football and college basketball — brings pressures that many of the old-timers never had to face but many of them also didn’t stay in one spot.

Not that I am writing there is anything wrong with perceiving a better position for yourself or family; only the person can answer that question and yes, sometimes the new situation is better.

Sometimes, it’s not. Think of Jerry Faust when he left high school football powerhouse Cincinnati Moeller (the program he’d built from 1962-80) for the “Promised Land” — the University of Notre Dame — and five years later resigned.

He followed his heart — who could blame him? The Fighting Irish football program may not quite be the Holy Grail that it was for a long time with all of its consensus national titles, Heisman Trophy winners, legendary coaches and colorful characters — it’s been since the days of Lou Holtz that they won a national title — but in those days, ND could probably recruit and get anyone it truly wanted on the gridiron.

I doubt it he regrets that decision one bit. Good for him.

He followed his dream and even though it didn’t work out for him as well as he’d hoped, he followed it.

Nothing wrong with that.

Anyway, back to me real train of thought!

It just would be nice to have some stability so I don’t have to keep retraining coaches seemingly every two years!!!

 

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