Sunday, October 19, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Negative coaching rarely works, for player or ‘mentor’

BruceGallaudetW

By
From page B1 | April 05, 2013 |

When Mike Rice was canned as Rutgers basketball coach this week, a lot of people’s first reaction was “What was he thinking?”

Shoving and kicking his players couldn’t have been a great motivator. Gay slurs and racial epithets certainly don’t move athletes in a positive direction.

Rice’s termination — especially with full video documentation — was a no-brainer.

But my, how we’ve evolved …

It wasn’t until the 1978 Gator Bowl that high-profile coaches — and their methods — started coming under intense media scrutiny.

Remember the moment? Ohio State legend Woody Hayes clothes-lined a Clemson player after a crucial interception. Video evidence became a game-changer.

With Rice’s firing, the death this week of former football great Jack Pardee and a conversation with my longtime good friend — and Arizona State sports fanatic — Mike Elliott, I’m reminded that grid Hall of Famers Paul “Bear” Bryant and Sun Devil taskmaster Frank Kush probably wouldn’t have climbed their ladders had media (or camera-carrying parents) been more involved in their respective programs.

Pardee — who was a positive influence out of the George Allen school of encouragement — coached the Redskins to modest accomplishments from 1978 to 1980. As an NFL linebacker, he was a furious competitor but terrific sportsman.

Pardee was one of the last survivors of Bryant’s notorious Junction, Texas, training camp.

In his first season as Texas A&M coach in 1954, Bryant wanted to thin the herd. The Aggies were pitiful the year before and the soon-to-be Alabama grid god felt toughness was the No. 1 quality of a football player.

In Texas Plains heat that reached 110 degrees, Bryant welcomed about 90 team hopefuls.

Oppressive temperatures and a grueling practice regimen saw almost half the attendees drop out. In his 2002 book “Junction Boys,” author Jim Bent tells of practices that began before dawn with sessions on some days that didn’t end until 11 p.m.

Verbal goading and physical abuse were the norm.

Former NFL and Alabama coach Gene Stallings was another survivor of the boot camp. Like Pardee, he approached the game as a mentor with a different motivational tack. The short story here? It appears that Bryant, Pardee and Stallings learned how not to coach from their 1954 experience (A&M went 1-9 that season).

Bryant toned it down thereafter. Roll Tide.

And Kush? He was a favorite of mine in the 1970s. His Sun Devils were Western Athletic Conference powerhouses and shocked Nebraska, 12-7, in the inaugural Fiesta Bowl in 1975. Kush went 176-54-1 in his ASU years.

But there were grumblings.

At his Camp Tontozona training facility, Kush pushed his players to young-Bryant-like extremes.

The big hill at the camp was nicknamed Mount Kush. Elliott tells me at the beginning of his spring or fall sessions, Kush would announce to his players: “See that mound over there? I want it moved over here by the end of practice,” pointing to a spot several hundred yards away.

Kush tortured his troops with that hill, making them run up and down it in the broiling Arizona sun. He threw in drills like sending running backs — with only a center for an offensive line — up the middle against a full complement of defenders. Full pads, too.

His “bull in the ring” was a test where players would encircle a teammate and, at Kush’s commands, hammer on him one-by-one until he “proved” his mettle.

Kush was fired in 1979 in the midst of an investigation into his “mental and physical” harassment of one of his kickers (of all people).

One can only imagine Kush’s legacy if the hidden camera had been at his first practice in 1958. (It’s probably more to the point that that kind of coaching was accepted 50-some years ago.)

This week, having gotten a look at UC Davis’ first spring football workout under new mentor Ron Gould, it’s refreshing to know that Rutgers is 2,800 miles away — both in distance and philosophy.

While I Have You Here: Doing things the right way must be an Aggie kinda thing.

Word comes from Bill Herenda (he of the UCD sports radio voice) that his Positive Coaching Alliance’s Double-Goal Coach Award has gone to Valeri Garcia.

Garcia, a Little League coach in Natomas, was cited for her thrust for victory “while pursuing the more important goal of teaching life lessons through sports.”

Garcia is program adviser at UCD’s Student Academic Success Center.

“I really love the holistic development sports can provide,” Garcia told Herenda. “Almost every job interview I’ve ever been part of, the topic of sports come up. I want to give that back to the kids … and not just the actual sport, but what sports can do.”

According to Positive Coaching Alliance folks, Garcia conducts workshops based on “Mindset” (the book by Stanford professor and PCA official Carol Dweck). The author says her work puts the spotlight on individual growth through effort, rather than reliance on talent.

“That focuses me as a coach on making sure my practices are about development and learning,” Garcia points out. “If you praise an athlete’s effort, they’re going to want to try harder.”

Ahem … Rutgers finished 5-13 in conference. Mr. Rice, please call Ms. Garcia at your earliest convenience.

— Bruce Gallaudet is a staff writer for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at bgallaudet@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8047.

Comments

comments

Bruce Gallaudet

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Housing First pilot project targets West Sac homeless

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

     
    Return to sender: MRAP removal options go to council

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    $18.75M grant aims to build global food security

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Howzat! Cricket tradition grows in Davis

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Evidentiary hearing set for man shot by CHP

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    For the record

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Cop witnesses car-pedestrian collision

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Hawaii hit by winds, rain as hurricane veers west

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Guns to be discharged at police range

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

     
    DHS ski and snowboard swap set on Nov. 9

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Wolk sets ‘Morning with the Mayor’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Safe viewing of solar eclipse planned

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Fill the Boot for the hungry

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

     
    Quiz Master Gardeners at open house

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Celebrate origami at Davis library

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Firefighters on the town

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A3

     
    Donate used books at Co-op

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Love-life tips on ‘Heart to Heart’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Volunteers sought to chip in on parks cleanup

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Crash victim ID’d as Woodland man

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

     
    Senior Computer Club hears from county official

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Apply by Friday for Biberstein grants

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Esparto home targeted in three-city pot bust

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

     
    Wolk earns perfect score from senior advocates

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    UCD celebrates 50 years of global agricultural success

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Special education information night scheduled

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A11

    Be on the lookout for tagged Monarch butterflies

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A16 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

    Old news disturbs the present

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Take time to reach out for help

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A8

    Are we there yet? Yik Yakking the day away

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A8

     
    A bionic hand with feeling

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

    Teach cyclists to obey laws

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A14

     
    Proposed lights harm kids

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A14

    Ain’t Snow Mountain high enough

    By Our View | From Page: A14

     
    Let’s take Davis’ energy future seriously

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A14

    Be careful cycling on Fifth

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A15

     
    Water theater isn’t fun

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A15

    Elect Granda to board

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A15

     
    Yes on Prop. 47: reasonable changes to curb recidivism, save money

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

    No on Prop. 47: an end to safe neighborhoods, and more victims

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

     
    .

    Sports

     
    Devils stick it to Chico, cancer

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Vargas emerges from crowded Aggie WR corps

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Competitive Aggies fall at No. 6/7 Montana

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    JV Devils fall to Franklin

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    Niemi leads Sharks to win

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    UCD roundup: Big crowd sees Aggies nip Guachos

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Davis is a temple for fine beverages

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Arcadia Biosciences earns spot on global innovation list

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    35 employers will be at West Sac job fair

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Rob White: Building an economy on innovation

    By Rob White | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Peggy Belenis Swisher

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Sadie Louise Barga

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Morgan Wheeler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, October 19, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8