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My Favorite Coaches

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2004-02-23


I hate Bob Knight. So much so that when people talk about great coaches, he doesnít even make my list. My personal favorite is Herb Brooks. Fresh on the heels of ďSalad Shooters: Knight vs. Smith,Ē comes Miracle, about Brooks and the 1980 U. S. Olympic hockey team. I absolutely loved Brooks. Todayís sports world is chock full of scum. Brooks was probably the one man in sports that I truly admired, as a coach and as a human being. Granted, he wasnít a saint. Iíve read enough about him to know that drove his players to the edge of exhaustion, anger, and sanity. But he knew when to back off.

Knight on the other hand, needs a psychiatrist and duct tape over his mouth. Of the most recent incident, he said, ďI should have just shook my head, walked away, or done a lot of other things.Ē Fortunately for those involved, those ďother thingsĒ didnít include spraying the salad bar with an AK-47. The man is a human land mine, for Godís sake. I expect him to spontaneously combust one day, like that British woman did in a disco years ago.

Thatís why Brooks will always be my hero. I admire him because he seemed the opposite of the entire sports world. He worked hard. He sacrificed. He realized the power of emotions. He worked hard. He was a gentleman. And oh, did I mention he worked hard? And unlike some sports-world parasites, he didnít rape anyone, or tell them if they were about to be violated, to just sit back and enjoy it.

Brooks never generated the ink and TV time Knight does because he kept his mouth shut and did his job. And when reporters claimed he was hogging the spotlight from his players because he forbade any of them to attend the press conferences, Brooks stopped going. He didnít insult the reporters. Didnít throw anything. He sent his assistant instead. Talk about class. Brooks wanted to win and to hell with any distractions. It wasnít about him, it was about his teamís potential for greatness. Brooks didnít give a damn about fame, what beating the Russians meant, or what anyone thought about his coaching methods. And God bless him for that.

And Knight? Who else has this kind of anger on an ongoing basis? Was he ever abused as a child? Does his wife beat him? Does he secretly suffer from the heartbreak of psoriasis? Anyone other than Knight exhibiting this kind of behavior would be ordered to take anger management classes and a truckload of Prozac.

Brooks on the other hand, focused his emotions and got results. Knightís focus seems to be going postal every few months. The Bob Knight Anger Mismanagement Tour plays in Texas but echoes all the way to Indiana. The gangrenous limb of Knight was amputated from IU years ago, but the pain lingers on. Someone pass the Advil.

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