Despite the rain a month ago, a good C and W Day was had by all.
Some of the best sports journalism these days is not available to those of us who still purchase newspapers or read columns on the internet.
It’s produced electronically and shown via programs like ESPN’s excellent 30 for 30 series and the equally well-produced A Football Life by the NFL Network.
Other than the one on Bruce Arians, the best one was done on Bill Parcells and shown over the weekend. Parcells said his “coaching life” turned when, after winning only three games as a first-year head coach with the New York Giants, he made a conscious effort to go from being Mr. Nice Guy to being Mr. Hard Ass. Parcells felt that he was trying to be the player’s friend when he realized that to be their coach he could not be their friend.
“Hard Ass” was the nickname Wayne Hardin’s players had for him at Temple. When Hardin was coach of the Owls, he was a tough taskmaster and never got too close to his players. Those players got to love coach Hardin for it, not while they played for him but years afterward when they realized what he was trying to accomplish.
“Everybody hated the guy when he was our coach,” one of his ex-players told me on Cherry and White Day. “Maybe hated is too strong a word, but nobody liked him. We all got to love him only years later when we realized what he was trying to do.”
This brings us to Geoff Collins.
The first-year Temple coach comes across as chummy-chummy with his players in almost every interaction with his players and that could be a recipe for failure. At least those are the outside perceptions fueled by the multiple images of Collins body-bumping his players during practice. Although, Andy Reid has done it with TO, no one remembers Bill Belichick, Vince Lombardi, Wayne Hardin or Bill Parcells doing anything similar.
The last time we checked, Reid hasn’t won anything of note.
Parcells had to learn it after a three-win season and that was the hard way.
Hardin never had to learn it because that’s the way he always was.
Another great head coach, Bill Belichick, adopted his coaching demeanor from watching Hardin as a kid and being in the same room with Parcells as an assistant.
Another recent coach who passed away, Mike Pettine Sr., the legendary coach at Central Bucks West, was a classic drill-instructor type whose players cursed him beneath their breath on the practice field but got to love him only years later when they talked about how critical those practices were to the championship trophies they got to hoist.
Hopefully, it will not take a three-win season for Collins to learn that lesson and his required summer reading will be the stories of Parcells, Belichick, Hardin and Pettine.
Or at least he should sit down and watch the Bill Parcells’ episode of “A Football Life” and carefully listen to everything The Tuna has to say.
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