Archive for the ‘Bill Parcells’ Category

Note to the Four USA Swimmers

Friday, August 19th, 2016

Apologies to readers who checked in and saw no new post. Had an early morning appointment at Stanford Pain Management and needed to get to bed early. Appointment was scheduled for 9:30 am, left my house a little before 6:00 am and, due to traffic and accidents, the three-hour trip turned into me not showing up until 9:35 am. Did have the foresight to call ahead and warn them of the situation because they’re always on time and expect patients to be too.

By now, the debacle created by Ryan Lochte and a few of his fellow swimmers is quite well known. The following are several useful quotes – and who they are credited to (with more to share) – for the boys:

“Oh what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive.” Walter Scott

“Always tell the truth; then there’s not much to keep track of.” Mark Twain

“Nothing good ever happens after midnight.” Nearly everyone who’s ever coached

“Better to keep your mouth shut and have everyone think you’re a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt.”

“While some people think being accountable is a hard thing to do, it’s still the right thing to do.” Bobby Unser

“The night air is poison.” Jerry Tarkanian

“Always tell the truth.  Then you’ll never have to remember what you said the last time.” Sam Rayburn

“Before you open your mouth to speak, make sure what you have to say is an improvement on the silence.” John Savage

“A good name is the most important thing you can achieve in this world.” Harry Kraft, father of Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots

“When you’re in a hole, the first thing you need to do is stop digging.” Will Rogers

“Ethics is about character and courage and how to meet the challenge when doing right will cost more than we want to pay.” Michael Josephson

“Crisis builds character; it also identifies it.” Many people, originator unknown

“Better to keep your mouth shut and have everyone think you’re a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt.” Abraham Lincoln

“You thought you were a law unto yourself. Athletes get that way. All the adulation, the publicity, the hype. You get a false sense of your own importance. It’s called ‘How dare you turn me down?! Don’t you know who I am?!’ ” Jim Murray on Mike Tyson, LA Times, 7/3/97

“Becoming successful may mean you have to do things other people don’t do.  Being a responsible individual is one of them.” Bobby Unser

“Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.” John Wooden

“When you make a mistake: 1) admit it 2) correct it 3) learn from it 4) don’t dwell on it 5) don’t repeat it.” Bill Parcells

“What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t invent with your mouth.” Jewish proverb

And those are just a few. Maybe the most appropriate one is the quote uttered satirist Elbert Hubbard:

“Everyone is a damn fool for five minutes a day.  Wisdom consists of not exceeding that.”





DeAndre Jordan Decided What?

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

One thing I’ve tried to stay away from is self-aggrandizement. However, anyone who’s read my post from three days ago (7/6/15) on the DeAndre Jordan situation, has to admit that I nailed it squarely on the noggin. For those who haven’t yet read it, I implore you to do so.

The talking heads were all wondering if there has been precedence. Hedo Turkoglu’s name was bandied about, the position taken by Antonio McDyess way back in 1999, a coaching flip-flop from Billy Donovan all surfaced (you can bet many interns must have earned some overtime) – all were brought up. The real comparison, however, would be to college recruiting and young kids giving verbal commitments.

Does what happened in the DeAndre Jordan scenario, described as continued recruiting after a prospect gives a verbal commitment, occur in college recruiting? In a word, yes. Maybe not all that often but, yes. Discounting the fact that the schools that lose out have spent a great deal of time and money recruiting the prospect, there’s the feeling that you know the kid made a mistake and that, deep down, he knows it, too. Maybe it was a case of listening to the wrong people, getting bad advice. So, you make that last ditch effort. Most of the time, you move on but, in a very special case, you’ve just put in too much effort to go down without exploring every option.

Who was it who gave him the erroneous advice in the first place? Or, in some cases, who made the decision for him? You believe, that if you could talk with him one more time, after whatever it was that turned his head. The first move is to get him away from those influences who, quite possibly, convinced him to do something that wasn’t necessarily in his best interests. (Guess whose best interests the person had in mind?)

Here’s an example of a story that made the rounds back in the late ’70s. I was coaching at Western Carolina at the time and, since it was an instance of shady recruiting, the law of averages would say that it took place in the south. Since I was not directly involved, I’ll leave out the names but suffice to say, if you’re someone who enjoys following recruiting (and are old enough to remember), you’ll probably be able to figure out the principal figures.

I recall speaking with a fellow assistant who made the following comment to me when we were talking about the subject of recruiting. “We love it when a kid verbally commits. Then, we only have one team to beat.” In this particular situation, that line of thinking got them one of the best high school players in the nation. If you need a hint, he went on to have a spectacular professional career as well.

One school had finally got this superstar’s verbal commitment. Another school (yeah, the one referred to above, who was pleased with it) “kidnapped” this kid. Actually, lured would be a better word, convincing the prospect he ought to take a ride to campus (of the “other” school). Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures. Once there, the second college’s staff convinced his that he would be much better served (read into that as you will) if he switched allegiances and matriculated right where he was at that time. He signed on campus, infuriating the kid’s original school.

A verbal commitment is not binding; a signed one is. Just as the NBA has a moratorium on when a player can sign a contract, the NCAA has a designated signing period. The NBA, apparently, needs the week to look over each deal to make sure it passes several criteria, salary cap among them. Nothing prior to that date is set in stone, similar to a prospect committing to a school.

As for retaliation by the Mavericks, maybe accusing that illegal tactics were used to “change DJ’s mind,” consider the post script to the story of our “kidnappers.” The coach of the school who “had” him but, then, lost him at the eleventh hour, called the player’s “new” coach and threatened to turn in the school to the NCAA for rules violations – of which they were oh so guilty. After hearing his rival’s rant, the coach said, “When you call the NCAA to turn us in, make sure you mention where he got this nice, new van he’s driving.”

What, no honor among thieves?

Good advice for DJ would be to show remorse and admit he made a mistake (which does not mean he has to throw anybody under the bus). Ours is a most forgiving country. “I made a mistake” is a powerful statement and draws empathy from most people for the simplest of reasons. Who among us hasn’t made a decision we regretted?

Take Bill Parcells’ advice:

“When you make a mistake:

1) admit it,

2) correct it,

3) learn from it,

4) don’t dwell on it,

5) don’t repeat it.


Piling On Paterno Is the Easy Thing to Do

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

His statue is moved, the NCAA is on their way in and people everywhere – with the possible exception of those in eastern PA – are having at Joe Paterno and what his legacy will be.  Maybe this is as it should be but there ought to be some degree of fairness afforded him.  The first part of the fairness is that, while the entire situation is disgraceful, the main culprit is Jerry Sandusky.  He is the man who abused those children, not Paterno.  For the people who claim what Paterno did was just as bad as what Sandusky did, that’s simply not true.  Paterno’s lack of proper action was an egregious mistake.  Had he – and others – acted immediately, many of the young boys would have spared.  But Paterno was not a child molester.  In fact, without Jerry Sandusky there is no tragedy at Penn State.  NCAA violations, quite possibly, but if you truly believe that that list isn’t a lengthy one, your favorite team better be from the Ivy League or someday you might be in for a major shock.

“The horrific allegations that came to light in November have haunted us all, but nothing we have experienced compares to that of Jerry Sandusky’s victims,” Steve Garban former chairman of the Penn State board of trustees said.  “My thoughts and prayers will remain with them always.”  All of Paterno’s vocal critics will say, “Amen” to Garban but, “now let me get on with my lambasting Paterno.”

The highly opinionated Roland Martin said, “Joe Paterno was nothing more than a narcissistic, arrogant coward.”  How well Martin actually knew Paterno I don’t know but there are many who have exhibited similar intense feelings toward the late coach.  Maybe that attitude is due to some previous confrontation with Paterno, maybe it’s a long held vendetta because JoePa blew them off one day when they asked for an interview they didn’t get.  Or maybe they’re just small people who love it when people higher up on the totem pole than they are found to have faults and relish in crucifying them.  What is it these people want?  Exhume his body and draw and quarter it in Beaver Stadium on national TV?

Therein lies the difference in how people feel toward this ugly situation.  Those who’ve known him for some time, e.g. his former players, have an entirely different take of him.  From Lavar Arrington to Matt Millen to former defensive captain Lee Rubin.  When Rubin was asked, “After hearing the Freeh report, do you feel the same way about Joe Paterno?” his response was, “Not regarding my relationship with him and all he did for me.”

“All he did for me.”  Let’s not forget that JoePa spent over six decades, longer than most of his critics have been alive, and accomplished some pretty exceptional things during that tenure.  Those who knew Joe, or admired him from afar, are devastated by his inability to have done what was right because, for so long, that’s what they felt Joe stood for.  When he said, “In hindsight, I wished I had done more,” his supporters sympathized. The human element holds as true in this story as it does in every one.

In John Maxwell’s book, Everyday Greatness, he relates that in 1972 Paterno was offered the head coaching job with the New England Patriots which was worth in the neighborhood of $1.5 million, plus partial ownership of the franchise.  After refusing it, JoePa said, “I love winning ballgames as much as any coach does, but I know there’s something that counts more than victory or defeat.  I get to watch my players grow – in their discipline, in their educational development and as human beings.  That is a deep lasting reward I could never get from pro ball.”  That doesn’t sound like the monster many are making him out to be.

In the end his loyalty to Penn State may have been his undoing.  He stayed too long.  Winning as big as he did, for as long as he did, in such a remote place as Happy Valley gave him godlike stature.  This is what could have led to his dismissal of Sandusky’s actions and his apparent abuse of power.  Paterno isn’t alone in a football coach who, in retrospect, made missteps in authority.  To find what autonomous power can do, read The Junction Boys about Bear Bryant’s preseason conditioning techniques.  People laugh that off as, “Ol’ Bear was a sonuvabitch to play for, but he made you a man.”  As with much of life, timing is key.  Does anyone in their right mind think Joe Paterno really condoned sexually abusing children?

In an interview earlier this week, Mike Krzyzewski, who became a close friend of JoePa’s said that there’s danger when someone is afforded power, prestige and, he added, money.  “But,” Mike continued, “with all of that comes trust and it can’t be abused.”

Another coach, Bill Parcells, when asked about how to handle making a mistake, gave some terrific insight:

“When you make a mistake: 1) admit it, 2) correct it, 3) learn from it, 4) don’t dwell on it, 5) don’t repeat it.”

NFL Interviews: When Attempting to Be Innovative Becomes Tasteless

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

The NFL didn’t need another controversy but that’s exactly what it got when Miami Dolphins’ General manager Jeff Ireland conducted what was thought to be a personnel interview with wideout Dez Bryant.

Granted, Bryant’s had a checkered past and due diligence needed to be done, especially if the club’s going to shell out major cash.  Possibly because Ireland wanted to find out the root cause of Bryant’s behavioral issues, possibly because he was trying to elicit a reaction from the receiver to a highly personal question, or possibly because he’s simply an insensitive pig, he decided to ask Bryant if his mother was a prostitute.

A little background: Bryant’s mother was 15 when she had him.  His father was in his 40s at the time of his birth.  Bryant’s mother, who had three kids by the time she was 18, was a cocaine, marijuana and PCP user, as well as someone who served a year-and-a-half for distributing crack.  And Bryant himself has never been accused of being a choir boy.

But, hey, if you don’t want to sign the guy, don’t sign him.  No matter what his upbringing or past has been, she’s still his mother – and anyone with an ounce of common sense or an iota of sensitivity would understand that’s an inappropriate question!  Besides, would it have mattered what his answer was?  What, exactly, was Ireland, or the Dolphins’ brass expecting, or better yet, hoping to discover?  Whether he would lash out or if he’d show extreme poise in responding in a calm, yet firm tone.

When Bill Parcells interviewed with the Dolphins, did they ask him, “When you were a young boy, was your mother an obese blimp?”  Same type of probing, reaction-seeking and completely senseless query. 

Provocative or introspective questions aimed to gauge a potential employee’s reaction – as long as they are tasteful – are fair game and serve a purpose.  What Ireland asked (or was directed to ask) was totally out of line and deserves more than just an apology.  “Genius” is a word that’s long been used in football.  As the old saying goes:

“The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.”

If You’re Going to Draft a QB, There Have to Be Some Rules

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

The overwhelming majority of people in and out of football – from those who know just a little something about the game to the “experts” claim that quarterback is the most important position on the team.

If that’s so (and who out there says it’s not?), then using a draft pick – especially a high one, e.g. the first three rounds – must take considerable thought and planning.  Yet, a number one overall pick like Peyton Manning threatens to break every record for that position in the history of football, while a number two overall pick (the same year) like Ryan Leaf threatens seemingly everything (and everyone) else.  Tom Brady gets drafted late and several other QB’s go before him.  I’d imagine there was considerable reevaluating the draft decisions that year. 

Bill Parcells, legendary coach and now president of the Miami Dolphins, seems to have found the “Rules to Draft by” when it comes to picking future signal callers.  These were announced during last night’s Dolphins-Jets Monday Night Football game and, while they may seem rather restrictive, Parcells (and his track record in the game) are not to be scoffed at, lest the “scoffer” be ready for battle, as Parcells has be known to threaten a time or two.

Whatever the case, here are the Tuna’s rules for drafting a quarterback:

1) He must be a senior.  (Bill’s not known for his patience and, usually, the younger the QB, the more time he takes to properly master the job).

2) He must be a graduate.  (Hey, if you’re paying your guy a lot of money and he’s going to handle the ball on every offensive play, he’d better not be a quitter.  Rather, you want someone who takes his responsibilities seriously, e.g. no blowing off the spring semester to get ready for the combines).

3) He must be a three-year starter.  (Once again, a lot of dough, as well as a good portion of the game plan, goes to this guy and it would be awful to get stuck with a “flash-in-the-pan,” someone who waited, got his opportunity but what was overlooked, was that he took over a veteran team that only needed someone to keep a ship from sinking, not one to direct it to the shore).

4) He must have at least 23 wins.  (It’s too easy to put up big numbers with a losing team who chucks it 50 times a game). 

Very stringent demands and not every year will they be met.  That must be exactly what’s behind the big guy’s thinking.  And if no one meets the standards, there’s always a trade, or easier yet, free agency.

After watching the show Chad Henne put on last night – in a game that Steve Young called the best duel he’d ever seen between two young QB’s (and Steve’s someone with the creds to judge quarterbacks), the Dolphins seem to have found their quarterback of the future – and maybe, the present.  Then, again, one-year-starter Mark Sanchez (whom even his own college coach, Pete Carroll – also no stranger to success – said he needed another year of college) looked mighty promising.

Yet, one of the qualities a leader must have is decisiveness and Parcells certainly qualifies in that category.

I have no idea who Eric Langmuir is, but, when his quote is put in the context of drafting a quarterback, it becomes one of the greatest understatements of all time:

“A decision without the pressure of consequence is hardly a decision at all.”