Sunday, June 24, 2012

Coaches That Make You Go Hmmm…

I’m no fan of USC or UGA.  Never have and never will be. 

But I’ve also never really respected them.  Never have.  But I can’t say I never will.  Because there are two guys that are slowly changing my perspective on respect.

Two guys with serious results who are doing things the right way.   And they’re good guys to boot.

But if it were only success that is making me change my mind, this list would include Les Miles and Nick Saban and Bob Stoops and Frank Beamer.  But success is only one piece of the puzzle.  It also has to do with how they carry themselves, handle their families, and respect their players.  It has to do with how they represent the University and their alumni.

So with respects to C+C Music Factory, here are two coaches that make me go hmmm…

The first guy: Mark Richt, Head Football Coach, University of Georgia

Richt has been at Georgia since 2001 and has led Georgia to two SEC Championships, three BCS Bowls, and five SEC East Division Titles (meaning he’s matched USC’s best season five times and exceeded it three times).

And his teams play with passion and a chip on their shoulders.  Ask the 2007 Florida Gators.  The Tim Tebow led defending national champion Florida Gators, who never recovered when the entire team rushed the field at coach’s order to celebrate an early touchdown. 

But Richt is not married to his job.  He has a wife who has battled and defeated cancer and four kids (two of which were adopted).  Richt believes in doing everything as if he’s doing it for the Lord (Colossians 3:23).  And he is able to invest in 25 players a year, multiple trainers, managers, and staff, along with their families.  And this is an opportunity he takes seriously.  And while some players haven’t taken advantage of that opportunity, many have.

And anyone that can succeed the way he has, carried himself the way he has, and represented the University the way he has earns my respect.  Even if I hate them.

The second guy: Ray Tanner, Head Baseball Coach at the University of South Carolina

Tanner has taken the entire USC athletic department to heights never achieved by men (there is that one other national championship in women’s equestrian, if you want to count that).  Even before the back-to-back championships, Tanner made himself king of Columbia.  Most notably in 2002 when USC defeated Clemson twice in Omaha on their way to a runner-up finish. 

Again, it isn’t just the success with Tanner, but also the way his teams play.  The players are loose, have fun, and he’s not afraid to gamble.  He knows his players, which buttons to push, when to get in their faces and when to get out of the way.  And they never give up.

This is never more apparent than when Clemson & USC do battle.  One dugout is thinking while the other is playing.  One dugout relaxed.  The other nervous.

Just as one coach is loose while the other is uptight.  And recent history puts the advantage on the chill side.

And I hate to say it nearly as much as I hate USC, but truth prevails.  And it hurts.  And because of this truth, USC is earning my respect one hustle play and win at a time.

So – now that my two main rivals have coaches with that are garnering my respect, does that mean I am pulling for them?  No.  H#$% No!  I still hope they lose every game.  But I don’t take as much joy in the losses while each win earns a little more respect.

Now – if only these schools had fans like their coaches…


  1. Stupid. Is this a Clemson board?

    1. No - it's actually a Clemson blog that takes a look at things from all angles, ponders things that need pondering, and explores topics that are relative to Clemson athletics. The fact that our top two rivals have solid coaches doing things the right way deserves our respect. And it should drive us to do better - and do it the right way as well.

      I believe Dabo is doing that, I believe Brownell is doing that. I'm a little suspect of Leggett, but he's earned the benefit of the doubt.


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