Apparently, the new fall sports season can’t get here quickly enough, as reader responses turned nasty on the subject of coaches defending ‘coaching’, Woody Hayes, and the other things history has chosen to forget and its impact on modern culture.
Reader response was immediate, coming on the heels of our July 10th column (Some Words About Coaching, From a Coach), and not all of them were positive:
“While I agree that we need strong figures in coaching positions, I also believe that coaches need to be more accountable for decisions that impact the lives of adolescents. No one should be cut from a seventh and eighth grade basketball team just for the sake of having a better team. It may be ‘old school’ , but that attitude has outlived its usefulness.” … Larry Smith
“If I’m correct (because you did not identify your friend that coached), the individual you wrote about used to post a sign on his door that said there will be no conferences whatsoever, except for concerns about an injury. Now if you’re a parent that kind of thing gets a little old when you’re trying to have (family) life outside of basketball.” … Tom H.
“I don’t mean to stir the pot, but there are simply too many other examples of good coaching through means other than ‘my way or the highway’. Like it or not, we live in an inclusive world now and there has to be respect for attitudes with coaching (and teaching) that reflect that.” … Jeff Perdue (Columbus)
(Ed. Note: That’s all and good, and probably true. But it doesn’t detract from the passion and values that men like Bob Huelsman, Jack Albers, and Dick Kotokrax taught young men during their coaching careers. And like it (them) or not, those guys turned out great young people who went on to successful careers, lives, and service to their community. Someone else wrote in to say “There’s a big difference in the US Army and the Salvation Army, but they’re both necessary. They get a job done.”)
From our July 5th column where a reader shared his own classroom experience with former Ohio State coach Woody Hayes, we received this:
“The letter about Woody Hayes was interesting, but simply illustrates the fact that Woody hung around too long.” … Craig Dempsey (Columbus)
“Your article about Woody Hayes was the perfect example of how far we’ve come from the closed-minded attitudes of that generation. Thank you for reminding us.” … Syl
“Actually, I was in school when Coach Hayes was there and I can tell you that if you saw him on campus and said hello he always responded and asked how your day was going, or where you were from, or what you were studying. He struck me as being genuinely interested in young people who didn’t even play football, so there were obviously two sides to the man. And is it not fair to say that one balanced the other?” … Jack Timmerling
“It is an interesting debate on coaching and culture, and I personally appreciate that you even went there. The irony is that no one who now criticizes Woody Hayes would be willing to give back one of his wins over Michigan, or a Rose Bowl, or one of his national championships. You can’t have it both ways. Great work.” … Dick Roberts
Finally, our July 4th column on what history has forgotten about events associated with the 4th of July was meant as nothing more than a reminder. Because really, very few people know that three American presidents died on the 4th, and two on the exact same day. A lot of people probably remembered the Beach Boys song, but didn’t realize it was the #1 song in the world on that date in 1966 – that Lou Gehrig gave the most famous speech in the history of baseball on July 4, 1939.
But one reader saw that column in a totally different light, and chose to send us this:
“Your passion for history is obvious, and it would have been more enlightening had you written about the 4th of July in terms of a better future and liberty for all people, and not just trivial events like sports and music. Just my opinion.” … Rebecca DeLisle