Knight and going postal. At Washington State, Mike Leach and his staff allegedly
belittled a star player so much, he left practice and quit. The Pac-12 is investigating.
At Texas Tech, where Leach used to coach before getting fired for mistreating a player,
Tommy Tuberville went all gangster on an assistant coach, berating him on national
television before swiping his headset to the ground.
And in Montgomery, Alabama, home of Huntingdon College, (apparently they spell
Huntington a little differently in the South) Matt Mahanic went on a tirade that Mike
Ditka would've been proud of. Trouble was, somebody on the team, somebody on
the friggin' golf team, secretly recorded their coach going volcanic and once it hit the
Internet, well, it was no longer a secret and Mahanic became an ex-coach. (Hear recording
below. Strong R-rating. Distance your children from the computer.)
What is going in college sports? Has the pressure to win become too intense for some?
Mahanic was a golf coach at a Division III school that 99.99 percent of you have never
heard of. The ones that have are probably the parents who sign the tuition checks for
their kids. Huntingdon College? Come on, Matt! Did you really have to set a world record
for the number of f-bombs dropped in a five-minute rant?
You're coaching golf at a school that nobody cares about while making $18,000 a year.
How the heck are you going to get another coaching job after that? Here's some advice,
get an agent and hit the reality show circuit. "Celebrity Apprentice" might work.
"Celebrity Re-hab" might be an option after you get yourself out of the gutter in a couple
of weeks. Matty boy, you are a full-fledged celebrity now. After all, you made it on YouTube
and more than 20, 000 people have heard your rant.
Mike Leach has long been accused on needing a filter for his mouth. He usually says
what's on his mind whether people like it or not. He got fired at Texas Tech for picking on
the son of former ESPN analyst Craig James. Leach allegedly told Adam James, a little
used receiver on the team who had a concussion at the time, to go sit in a dark equipment
room while the rest of the team practiced.
After three years off , Leach landed on his feet in Pullman, Washington with a terrible
Cougar football team. On November 3, after getting blown out by Utah, 49-6, Leach
had this to say about his offensive line:
"Our five couldn't whip their two," Leach said. "Sometimes they only brought two.
Which means, if five of our guys went in an alley and got in a fight with two of theirs,
we would have gotten massacred. That's just ridiculously inexcusable. It was one of
the most heartless efforts up front I've seen; and our defensive line wasn't any better."
Shortly thereafter, Marquess Wilson, a star receiver walked out of a practice and quit
the team saying, "The new regime of coaches has preferred to belittle, intimidate and
humiliate us. This approach has obviously not been successful, and has put a dark
shadow on this program."
Both the Pac-12 and Washington State are conducting their own investigations into
the alleged abuse by the coaching staff.
20 years ago, these "investigations" never would've happened. Yelling, screaming, and
any other forms of verbal abuse by coaches had long been accepted as part of molding
teams and making players tougher. I think back to an assistant coach who was part of
the staff at my high school. The man would foam at the mouth and practically burst every
blood vessel in his head as he screamed at us relentlessly. You couldn't even understand
what the guy was saying . If he did the stuff he did back then, today, I'm pretty sure
he'd be locked up a good five years.
Administrations don't tolerate those verbal assaults anymore. Once Myles Brand stood
up to and fired Bobby Knight at Indiana, educators and athletic directors got bolder and
made sure they let coaches know any type of verbal or physical abuse wouldn't be
tolerated. Oh, sure, it still happens, but not to the extent it once did.
Texas Tech, who incidentally hired Knight after "The General" was fired by Indiana,
has had all kinds of problems with their high-revenue generating sports of football
and basketball. They fired Leach and then told Billy Gillespie to take a hike after some
of his basketball players accused him of mistreating them.
Officials at Texas Tech had to be cringing when Tommy Tuberville blew his top at
graduate assistant, Kevin Oliver, during the Red Raiders game against Kansas last
Saturday. Tuberville was yelling at Oliver, then appeared to swipe the headset of
Oliver off his head. After the game, Tuberville claimed he intended to hit the shoulder
of the graduate assistant and knocked off his headset instead. Whatever.
The tirade of Mahanic cost him his job. If it's found that Leach abused his players,
something he got fired for at Texas Tech, he might get another pink slip. Tuberville
appears to be safe because after all, the Red Raiders have a winning record. But the
pressure to win in college sports these days might just be getting out of hand and
causing some major meltdowns across the sports landscape.