Abuse of Power

Rutger’s basketball coach Mike Rice will hopefully be fired before the week ends.  Somehow, and largely in spite of himself, he became a division one basketball coach.  In three years at Rutgers, he has epitomized mediocrity in wins amd losses, and Hitler in all other respects. 

Throughout his tenure, he has verbally and physically abused his players, and been paid handsomely to do it.  I would like to believe that this has nothing to do with basketball or coaching, and rests fitfully, in the insecurities of Mike Rice, but I don’t believe it.

Coaching is something most people do when they can’t play anymore.  Most coaches didn’t play all that well when they could play.  As coaches, they redefine themselves demanding all the things they didn’t or couldn’t do as players.  Sometimes the redefinition is so complete they forget what it means to be a player.

Therein is the disconnect.  The players are no longer people , but x’s and o’s, reads and reaponsibilities, that if not executed will lead to losses and getting fired.  It’s easy to be verbally “tough” and “fiery” as Rice has in better times been described if you don’t value your players as people.

Players will always be people.  They will respond better to positive motivation that builds confidence and belief than abusive negativity that starts as fear and ends in resentment.  A coach’s relationship with his players is the foundation upon which all else is built.  If it is solid and sincere, it will be rewarded with all his players have to offer on the floor and eternal respect when they leave the floor. 

Among the things that Mike Rice will lose in the coming days, this respect will be the biggest loss, and he likely won’t even realize it.

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