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Coaches need character, too

February 24, 2011 - Per Peterson
What’s going on with college basketball coaches these days? Tennessee men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl is accused of unethical conduct — a formal and polite way of saying he lied to the NCAA — failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance and failure to monitor his assistants. Then there’s UTEP coach Tim Floyd who went berserk Wednesday and was tossed out of the game against East Carolina. He had to be escorted off the court by a cop. A cop. These two men are obviously good coaches, perhaps athletic directors of major college programs should start to think about hiring coaches not because of their name or resume, but because of their character. We hold college athletes accountable for their actions, and more and more professional teams scout an athlete’s personal background and character almost as much as they scout their physical attributes. An college athlete's character goes a long way in determining when that player will be will drafted. There are Moss-like exceptions, of course, but for the most part, pro teams want good people, not just good players. Colleges should adopt that same philosophy when hiring coaches. Let’s say Pearl gets fired at the end of the year. His name alone would sure be enough to attract other universities looking for a head basketball coach. But you wonder, would they take into account all the problems Pearl is bringing to the Tennessee basketball program? Or would they let Pearl check his baggage at the door and welcome him with open arms and a multi-million contract? My hope is the latter, because these two coaches — and there are others out there — are not only giving college coaches a bad name, they’re smearing the schools they work for as well.


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