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Old Fri Mar 04, 2005, 11:07am
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http://www.opinionjournal.com/taste/?id=110006371

Chaney Dearest
Angry coaches and the players who love them.

BY ELIZABETH B. CROWLEY
Friday, March 4, 2005 12:01 a.m.

They say that college basketball players play for the name on the front of the jersey (the team's) while the pros play for the name on the back (their own). True enough. But college players also play--in a way their professional counterparts do not--for the name at the top of the program: that is, for the coach.
It is easy to understand such loyalty when it is directed at a saintly figure like John Wooden, who led UCLA to 10 national titles in the 1960s and '70s. But some college coaches fall short of Mr. Wooden's quiet rectitude and gentlemanly bearing. Some, to put it mildly, are jerks. But even the most foul-tempered, violent ones seem to win the devotion of their players, who declare their allegiance even years after graduating. Why is this so?

Just last week Temple coach John Chaney, annoyed at what he considered bad refereeing, sent a player into a game against St. Joseph's for the purpose of "sending a message." The Temple player, Nehemiah Ingram, knocked St. Joseph's senior forward John Bryant down, breaking his arm.

The next day Coach Chaney, age 73, apologized and suspended himself for a game. Temple suspended him for three more games. Mr. Chaney announced he'd also sit out the conference tournament after he met with Mr. Bryant's parents on St. Joe's campus.

This wasn't Mr. Chaney's first such incident. He's choked and threatened to kill opposing coaches, and after a frustrating loss last year, he even declared that he would beat some of his players if he had a baseball bat. Despite such charming manners, he has a high reputation in college hoops. It helps that he's won more than 700 games in his career, a place in the Hall of Fame and the undying admiration of his players.

Even Mr. Ingram, whom Mr. Chaney called a "goon," said that he supports his coach. "He's like a father to me," he told reporters, "and my father called me worse things than that." True, the 6-foot-8, 250-pound forward may not wish to antagonize the man who still controls his playing time. But if history is any guide, Mr. Ingram will be singing his coach's praises long after he's left Temple for a career in criminal justice.

Mr. Chaney is just one of many temperamental college coaches who inspire this odd sort of loyalty. When Bobby Knight found himself in particularly hot water at Indiana University--accused of choking a player in a practice session--at least a half-dozen of his current and former players stuck up for him. Of course, he had won nearly 800 games at that point. And the quick temper of the late North Carolina State coach Jim Valvano--famous for pacing on the sidelines, red-faced, shouting obscenities even at his own team--never seemed to hurt his cult of adoration.
"If I asked my kids to run through a brick wall, you know what they'd say?" Oklahoma Sooners coach Kelvin Sampson asked me. "Coach, can I get a running start?"

Not so in the pros, Louisville's Rick Pitino, who has coached both college and NBA teams, explained when we spoke. "In the pros, it's more like a friendship or just a distant relationship . . . like being with a corporation." Professional players have agents, contracts, sponsors and money. College players have a coach, who recruits them and guides them at a formative time in their lives. College coaches and players become family, Mr. Pitino says. "It's no different than getting up in the morning and sitting at the breakfast table looking at your children. It becomes that strong. Sometimes they need you more than your own kids."

But some families resemble Joan Crawford's. To put it charitably, coaches care so much about their young charges that they are driven to towel-chewing, bullet-sweating, clipboard-throwing frenzy.

John D. Gartner, a clinical psychologist and author of "The Hypomanic Edge," suggests a biological explanation for such short tempers and the long-term devotion that follows. People suffering from a condition called hypomania--milder than the mania of manic-depression but several notches above normal enthusiasm--are energetic, restless, driven and creative, he says. But they're also easily irritated and can be impulsive, using poor judgment in the heat of the moment and regretting their rashness in later, calmer moments. Mr. Chaney, of Temple, would surely find Mr. Gartner's book fascinating.

The same hypomania that gives people energy and a short fuse can motivate others, Mr. Gartner argues. In short, confidence, energy and aggression are contagious. "Whether they're leading a religious rally, talking to a team at halftime or inspiring a small company to beat IBM," he explains, "these people are biologically overmotivated." Their energy actually stimulates "the machinery in our brain that motivates us--the hypomanic leader energizes these turbines."

And sometimes the turbines go into overdrive, to good effect and bad. As the season winds down and the NCAA tournament begins, Mr. Bryant, nursing his broken arm, will have plenty of time to read Mr. Gartner's book.

Ms. Crowley is assistant features editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page.


Copyright © 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

  #2 (permalink)  
Old Fri Mar 04, 2005, 11:28am
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You seem really obsessed with the John Chaney incident. Let it go. We already know what happen and why it might have happened. It will be alright.
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Old Fri Mar 04, 2005, 11:41am
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Quote:
Originally posted by PS2Man
You seem really obsessed with the John Chaney incident. Let it go. We already know what happen and why it might have happened. It will be alright.
Let's leave aside your contention that I am obsessed with this.

Why did you click on the thread if you feel the need to "let it go"?
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Old Fri Mar 04, 2005, 11:55am
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Actually, I thought this was a very balanced article. I read it earlier, and thought about posting it here. It addresses this from an angle that we hadn't, and I think it's quite well done.
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Old Fri Mar 04, 2005, 11:55am
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From the article:

"This wasn't Mr. Chaney's first such incident. He's choked and threatened to kill opposing coaches, and after a frustrating loss last year, he even declared that he would beat some of his players if he had a baseball bat. Despite such charming manners, he has a high reputation in college hoops. It helps that he's won more than 700 games in his career, a place in the Hall of Fame and the undying admiration of his players.

Even Mr. Ingram, whom Mr. Chaney called a "goon," said that he supports his coach. "He's like a father to me," he told reporters, "and my father called me worse things than that." True, the 6-foot-8, 250-pound forward may not wish to antagonize the man who still controls his playing time. But if history is any guide, Mr. Ingram will be singing his coach's praises long after he's left Temple for a career in criminal justice."

Unbelievably sad and discouraging. We are raising our children to believe that physical and emotional violence are a good way to carry our lives forward and that winning is all that matters.
  #6 (permalink)  
Old Fri Mar 04, 2005, 12:01pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by PS2Man
You seem really obsessed with the John Chaney incident. Let it go. We already know what happen and why it might have happened. It will be alright.
What's your problem? He posted an article that has to do with something we are all interested in. So we are now going to flame posters when they put up a basketball related article?

Z
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Old Fri Mar 04, 2005, 12:18pm
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I PROMISE not to get involved and mention that Coach Chaney was called a "thug" in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated. (3/7/05, pg. 19, "Over The Line")

Oops.
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old Fri Mar 04, 2005, 12:23pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by zebraman
Quote:
Originally posted by PS2Man
You seem really obsessed with the John Chaney incident. Let it go. We already know what happen and why it might have happened. It will be alright.
What's your problem? He posted an article that has to do with something we are all interested in. So we are now going to flame posters when they put up a basketball related article?

Z
How did I flame a poster? Dan Ref has not posted 3 threads about this very same issue. I just made a comment about it. We get it already. He does not like Chaney and what he did. Unless you are the moderator of this site I think I can voice an opinion.
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Old Fri Mar 04, 2005, 12:35pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by PS2Man
Quote:
Originally posted by zebraman
Quote:
Originally posted by PS2Man
You seem really obsessed with the John Chaney incident. Let it go. We already know what happen and why it might have happened. It will be alright.
What's your problem? He posted an article that has to do with something we are all interested in. So we are now going to flame posters when they put up a basketball related article?

Z
How did I flame a poster? Dan Ref has not posted 3 threads about this very same issue. I just made a comment about it. We get it already. He does not like Chaney and what he did. Unless you are the moderator of this site I think I can voice an opinion.
Whatever.

Z
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Old Fri Mar 04, 2005, 12:35pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by PS2Man
Quote:
Originally posted by zebraman
Quote:
Originally posted by PS2Man
You seem really obsessed with the John Chaney incident. Let it go. We already know what happen and why it might have happened. It will be alright.
What's your problem? He posted an article that has to do with something we are all interested in. So we are now going to flame posters when they put up a basketball related article?

Z
How did I flame a poster? Dan Ref has not posted 3 threads about this very same issue. I just made a comment about it. We get it already. He does not like Chaney and what he did. Unless you are the moderator of this site I think I can voice an opinion.
How do you know if I "like" Chaney or not? He could be my brother-in-law for all you know.

And if this topic bores you so much why do you keep posting to the threads? Lack of self-discipline maybe?
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Old Fri Mar 04, 2005, 12:36pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by M&M Guy
I PROMISE not to get involved and mention that Coach Chaney was called a "thug" in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated. (3/7/05, pg. 19, "Over The Line")

Oops.
Just because it was in Sports Illustrated does not make it right. And it does not matter what race the person was that wrote the article either.

I remember watching PTI one afternoon and Michael Wilbon made it clear that many of the articles written by the media and talked about in the media have a very stereotypical tone when they talked about the 2004 Olympic Basketball Team. Wilbon felt that the words and characterizations about the team were very "stereotypical" in their criticisms of that team. Just because you write for a national publication does not make you any less ignorant about an issue you write about. There is someone that wrote and article about how officials miss things most of the time. I do not see anyone here coming out and saying "that is right on" because it was in the media.

Peace
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Old Fri Mar 04, 2005, 12:38pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by zebraman


Whatever.

Z
You are right zebraman, whatever you say.
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Old Fri Mar 04, 2005, 12:41pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dan_ref


How do you know if I "like" Chaney or not? He could be my brother-in-law for all you know.

And if this topic bores you so much why do you keep posting to the threads? Lack of self-discipline maybe?

How do you know the topic bores me?

Maybe I can come to the very same conclusion about you are trying to make about me. It is hardly a lack of self-discipline to comment on something I have an opinion of. But it is clear to me that you have an obsession with this issue as you do with other issues. You post many things to get a reaction then get mad when someone gives you their reaction. This is not the first time you have done this.
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Old Fri Mar 04, 2005, 12:46pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by PS2Man
Quote:
Originally posted by Dan_ref


How do you know if I "like" Chaney or not? He could be my brother-in-law for all you know.

And if this topic bores you so much why do you keep posting to the threads? Lack of self-discipline maybe?

How do you know the topic bores me?


Maybe it was something you said?

Quote:
Let it go. We already know what happen and why it might have happened. It will be alright.
Quote:


Maybe I can come to the very same conclusion about you are trying to make about me. It is hardly a lack of self-discipline to comment on something I have an opinion of. But it is clear to me that you have an obsession with this issue as you do with other issues. You post many things to get a reaction then get mad when someone gives you their reaction. This is not the first time you have done this.

Ahhh...a fan!

How nice.

(btw, as I've already stated I'm not mad, I'm entertained.)
  #15 (permalink)  
Old Fri Mar 04, 2005, 12:47pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by PS2Man
Quote:
Originally posted by Dan_ref


How do you know if I "like" Chaney or not? He could be my brother-in-law for all you know.

And if this topic bores you so much why do you keep posting to the threads? Lack of self-discipline maybe?

How do you know the topic bores me?

Maybe I can come to the very same conclusion about you are trying to make about me. It is hardly a lack of self-discipline to comment on something I have an opinion of. But it is clear to me that you have an obsession with this issue as you do with other issues. You post many things to get a reaction then get mad when someone gives you their reaction. This is not the first time you have done this.
Why don't you stop hinting around about it? Why don't you just come right out and call him a racist? After all, he might be disagreeing with you.
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