So what does coaching have to do with all this? I say plenty. Coaches should be role models for good character and behavior. Let me recount some examples I've witnessed of coaches behaving badly. I saw a soccer coach recently tell his 10 to 12 year old players that a player for the opposing team was a cheater. The motivation for his saying this was that he disputed some of the calls that this athlete was involved in. His assertions were baseless and it was totally inappropriate that he expressed his feelings in front of these kids. All I could think was,what kind of example was he setting,not only for this match but for the whole season? Another one,how 'bout the male coach for a girl's college x-country or track team who views his team as his personal dating service? I've seen that occur before and there is no way it can be justified as being appropriate conduct by a coach.We now look at the Penn State fiasco and we see troubling behavior in two areas. One concerns the head coach who was told of the abuse and reported it to his Athletic Director and later claimed he did all he thought he needed to do. He said this despite the fact that after his report the perpetrator was still on campus. What kind of character is this coach exhibiting here? Was he more concerned with maintaining the status quo and a multi-million dollar football enterprise then protecting the welfare of children? A child sex offender was still around and he was OK with that? The other concern relates to the reaction by the students and faculty at Penn State as well as some in the media who defended the coach by saying he did enough and should never have been fired. I can't find the words to describe how ignorant that kind of thinking is.
Yes, coaches must be role models for good character and behavior. Whether they like it or not,they occupy,especially among the younger ones, a special position in the lives of their athletes they oversee that is in many ways parental. What coaches say and teach, as well as how they act, is observed and often copied and emulated by their athletes. Honesty,sportsmanship,discipline,dedication to a goal,and courtesy are attributes that a coach must not only exhibit but instill in those who are under his care.