This past week, Rutgers University received news and video of their head basketball coach Mike Rice’s controversial coaching tactics. His way of implementing these methods involved hurling basketballs at player’s heads, using derogatory homosexual slurs to identify each player, and shoving, punching, and kicking players if they failed to do what they were told.
This horrific excuse for a basketball coach evaded public awareness for years before a viral video was released exposing his despicable actions. Rice, fortunately, was fired shortly after being suspended, but he was not the only one to leave. The athletic director resigned after taking the initiative to terminate Rice’s contract as head coach, which is somewhat confusing. For him to essentially play the role of a hero and rid of Rice’s disgusting actions should have earned him a reward.
Being named head coach of a Division I basketball team is an honorary title for anyone, let alone being a head coach for any sport. The position should be treated with as much respect, patience, and passion as humanly possible. The key to leading a team involves reaching out to them not only as a mentor, but on a personal level as well. For Rice to physically and emotionally abuse his players should have earned him more than termination. Fans and communities are reaching out and attempting to have Rice dealt with legally, and calling for further investigation.
The epitome of an ideal basketball coach lies within the legends: Mike Krzyzewski, Rick Pitino, Billy Donovan, Bill Self, etc. Their implementations involve speaking to the players and valuing their input rather than cutting them off mid-sentence with a basketball to the head.
A prime example of a coach’s love and devotion for his team was evident on the night of Louisville’s Kevin Ware’s horrific injury. After Ware had been carted off, the camera turned to coach Rick Pitino to see him mourning with tears in his eyes. The entire team shared a mutual feeling of anguish, but none more than Coach Pitino. He shows compassion towards his players; a characteristic that molds the true image of a head coach.
College basketball teams that have had great success have had great coaches. Had Rice been kept around at Rutgers, the team would have only been more and more demoralized, leading to fewer wins. How is a team abused by their coach expected to have the motivation and vigor to win a game? Rather than receiving positive incentive to correct their mistakes, the players received enraged insults and violent shoving. These tactics clearly worked, as Rice lost his job, and respect from the Rutgers community hundreds of thousands of people all across the country. It’s safe to say that he will not be missed.
With Rice’s reign of terror now over, the Scarlet Knights basketball program looks towards the future with their heads held high, and their goals set to finding a new head coach whose approaches towards success do not coincide with those of a certain German politician from the 1930’s and 40’s.