Coaches Who “Work the Refs”

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Boo hoo. My favourite teams in the NCAA basketball tournament are gone. My alma mater, Wisconsin, was hammered by my second favorite team, Cinderella squad, Davidson. Then on Sunday, Davidson was beaten by Kansas.

However, an incident in the Stanford versus Marquette game highlighted a coaching tactic that I really hate. The Stanford coach was ejected for walking onto the floor in order to continue complaining about a referee’s call. He had already been warned once about his behavior.

This took place early in the game – with three minutes left in the first half.
While assistant coaches are prepared to take over their team, this was akin to changing a ship’s rudder in the middle of a storm. His team bailed him out – barely. Stanford won on a last-second shot in overtime.

While I respect coach Trent Johnson’s sincere apology in the post-game interview, this incident brings attention to a form of coaching behavior that I truly dislike.

Many coaches, at all levels and in many sports, now feel they aren’t doing their job unless they are “working the refs.” The thinking is, if they complain enough about every questionable call, they’ll get some “make up” calls later in the game.

The result is a constant stream of complaints aimed at the officials…from the same builders of character who preach composure to their athletes.

They might indeed get an extra call here or there. But they also risk losing credibility with the officials when they really DO have a legitimate complaint.

However, the biggest drawback is the message they are sending their athletes. They tell them not to whine and sulk and complain after a bad call. Then they go ahead and do it themselves. It’s a mixed message and one that makes it difficult to develop positive behavior among young athletes.

One reason for this trend? The television attention that coaches get when they are performing their referee rants. It’s a not-so-subtle form of approval for their poor behavior.

Just let the athletes play the game.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]March Madness,NCAA, tournament,sports,sport,basketball,sports, referees[/tags]

Small Universities and March Madness

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This is one of my favorite weekends in sports…the first weekend of March Madness. There are so many games televised that I don’t have to leave my LazyBoy for three solid days. I usually get the chance to cheer for my alma mater (Go Wisconsin!) – at least for a few rounds of play. And this is the weekend for upsets, Cinderella teams and universities you’ve never heard of.

And that’s the benefit of sport for many of these smaller schools. It puts their name on a national stage for a few days. It gives them name recognition and, through the “halo effect,” provides an an impression of excellence to prospective students and donors . The subconscious thinking is, “Heck, if they’re good at one thing (basketball), they’re probably good at other things too (like academics).”

Here’s a guide to some of the small, lesser-known schools who have made it to the “big dance.” It’s organized by size of enrollment. Do you know the location of every school?

Davidson College, 1700 Students, Davidson, North Carolina
Mount St. Mary’s, 2100 students, Emmitsburg, Maryland
Sienna, 3000 students, Loudonville, New York
Butler, 4437 students total, Indianapolis, Indiana
Belmont University, 4500 students, Nashville, TN,
Drake, Des Moines, IA, 5000 students
Winthrop, 6292 total students, Rock Hill (Near Charlotte), South Carolina
Xavier, Cincinnati, OH, 6646 students.
Gonzaga, 6736 Students – Spokane Washington
Austin Peay, 9105 students, Clarksville, TN (45 minutes NW of Nashville
Vanderbilt, 11,847 students, also in Nashville,
UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore Country), 12,041 students, Baltimore, MD,,

Compare their enrollments with Michigan State’s 46,000 students.

The hotbed of small schools in the tournament seems to be the Nashville area, with Vanderbilt, Belmont and Austin Peay, all in or near the country-music capital.

And who is this year’s Cinderella team? It seems to be Davidson, who advanced to the Sweet Sixteen by beating Georgetown (enrollment 6500).

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]March Madness,NCAA, tournament,sports,sport,basketball,sports[/tags]