“The Fire Coker movement never has been stronger in South Florida, yet the man at the storm’s epicenter insists he’s not bothered.” Despite the seemingly obvious fact that Miami’s Larry Coker has taken the lead chair in the Atlantic Coast Conference’s line-up of hot seats , Coker has shared some quotes in the last couple of days that are so great that they needed to be enshrined beside some great quotes in our Hall of Fame (link to recent great statement).
The following two statements were run on a Miami website and the News & Observer. Both of them are fantastic comments that all coaches should remember when answering questions
“I’ve been in high profile football programs before. I understand it. We have great fans and they expect greatness from us. Believe me, no one wants to win more than I do and our staff does. We have high expectations. Our expectations are higher than that of our fans.”
“I’ve been in high-profile programs before at Oklahoma and Ohio State, so I understand it,” Coker said. “And I understand the frustration of our fans. We have great fans, this is a great program and they expect greatness out of the program. Believe me, nobody wants to win more than I do.”
I just have to say — Larry Coker knows what the hell that he is doing. What a wonderful template and footprint for all coaches to follow in the future.
Note that you see no whining. Note that you see no frustration of how “unappreciated” he is. Note that you see no avoidance. The man gets paid an ass-load to do the one thing that he loves more than anything in this world and he understands and accepts the “unfair” environment that he is in.
You see, Larry Coker CHOSE to put himself in this environment. He knew what the situation was BEFORE he took the job. In fact, he gets paid a huge premium BECAUSE of the pressures and focus of his job. This is why his compensation is structured the way that it is – the undue burdens and high risk nature of his job command a premium for their services.
I respect the hell out of Coker for being a man about his situation and being a *&(#^% with a bunch of whining about how unfair things are…etc…etc. You can debate what is subjectively “right” and what is subjectively “fair” all that you want. None of that changes what is reality. Reality is high risk and underappreciation in college sports. Reality is also the fat check that you take home.
I applaud Larry Coker for his public handling of reality.
(I also can’t help but ask all of the HSSSers out there what they think of Miami’s chances to ever hire a good football coach again? Obviously no coach in the world would ever want to coach in such a ridiculously irrational situation like Miami…or even the College of Charleston.)
For the record, none of my comments here are related to Chuck Amato. As much as Chuck sucks with the media (which may ultimately lead to an accelerated downfall), for the most part he has handled the “hotseat” focus in a relatively similar way. He certainly hasn’t had the style and class of Coker, but he generally gets the point and I respect his general honesty on this topic.
Before the season started, Amato made some comments in an article titled “Amato says that pressure comes with the territory” in the Winston-Salem Journal that I found pretty refreshing. (Link)
The proverbial hot seat, Amato said, comes with the territory. There is nothing unique about his situation or State fans’ expectations.
“That’s a universal problem, in every sport, and even in sports writing,” he said. “It’s a universal thing – in midgets, in tee ball. Everybody wants to win the championship. And the expectations in my sport are brought on by me putting them that high. I don’t mean that it hadn’t been there before (at State), but it’s that way everywhere. We’re in a conference in all sports that you can’t stub your toe now. I mean, it’s amazing.”
“I listen to Wolfpack fans,” he said. “I listen to Wolfpack fans, and I have no problem with people (scrutinizing), I really don’t. But the coaches are going to do the coaching, and I think it’s that way everywhere.”
“It’s the media. There wasn’t ESPN back 20 years ago, or maybe it was just starting. The Internet, the chat rooms, the talk shows, the same people that are obviously unemployed that are on those things. But I think all that stuff leads up to it, no matter how good or bad you are, no matter where you are or who you are, there’s pressure. Look at two years ago, the two winningest coaches in NCAA history (Joe Paterno and Bowden), and people were doubting them. And then all of a sudden, ba-da bing, they were in the Orange Bowl last year.