I write this from courtside of the HTC Center at Coastal Carolina where I’m covering the Big South Tournament. By now, Frank Martin has talked to the media in Columbia and Kmac will have more on that here later. So, I am writing this before knowing what Martin said.
What I hope he said is…”I am Frank Martin. Like me or hate me, I didn’t become successful by coaching timidly. And I am not about to start now.”
Oh, how the Holier Than Thous have come out of the woodwork since Tuesday night because of two profane words Martin spat out at Duane Notice. Some in Gamecock Nation are in a tizzy because their coach would undress a player, who in the coach’s opinion was not doing his job, with some salty words. My oh my.
We hear the protests of the parents who sit behind the bench with their kids and recoil at the utterance of a four letter word, the same parents who seem to have no issues with their kids staring at video games of bodies being blown apart.
The Oprafication of America continues. And we as sports fans have no spine.
When was there a rule passed in our society that a coach can not be tough on a player, can not get in is face and chew him out, all in the effort to make him better? Notice that I did not say put his hands on him. I’m not talking about physical contact, though in my day a foot up the butt was a great motivator.
Martin is a highly emotional coach. Passion is what he’s built his career around. That passion sometimes spews out four letter, or in this case seven letter, words. Big deal. Ever hear of “Sticks and Stones”?
At the time of this most recent outburst, Martin was witnessing a Florida guard torch his defense with 11 three pointers. One player, eleven three pointers. And this was not Larry Bird we’re talking about. So, it’s understandable that he might have been a little unhappy with how his guards were playing defense.
So he asks Notice a question about those defensive problems, and when he did not get an answer, he exploded with invective meant for his players. The fact others overheard him, or it was picked up on TV and then spread across the Internet is not his problem. He’s got a tough job to do, one of the toughest in the country, and he’s doing it the only way he knows how.
It’s not for the faint of heart.
Ray Tanner knows a thing or two about winning, about building a program and about coaching. My guess is at some point during his career Tanner cursed at a player. He probably got in a players’ grill a time or two to make his point. His good fortune was that nobody ever saw it. Tanner chose to deal with player development behind the scenes.
Martin didn’t have that luxury Tuesday night. His team was being embarrassed at home and there was no place to hide his frustration. He was Martin being Martin. USC officials knew they were hiring a ticking time bomb when they brought Martin in, so no one in the Rice Administration Building should be surprised at all.
Martin’s action didn’t hurt anyone. I viewed it as a tough-as-nails coach trying to take advantage of a coaching moment with a player who needed some coaching. You don’t take the bite out of a German Shepard. No one should push Frank Martin into trying to be something that he’s not.
All the one game suspension has done is brought national notoriety to an incident that basically went unnoticed in the national media. More harm than good.
And what’s the penalty for two assistant football coaches fighting on the sideline during a game?