Coaches Gone Wild: The unfortunate cases of Gregg Williams, Bobby Petrino and Stan Van Gundy

What in the world is going on with coaches these days?

You remember coaches, don’t you?  Those guys in the funny-looking, gym shorts with a whistle around their neck when you were little?  They placed your baseball on a tee, taught you how to catch a football or properly shoot a jump shot.  The guys who weren’t your parents, yet still played a role in guiding you along the path to manhood.

Apparently those guys are a thing of the past, or at least they are in the professional ranks.

In Orlando, we have one gentleman who, instead of leading his team, has crumbled under the pressure of mediocrity and resorted to throwing his franchise player under the bus.  We have another coach who, while in New Orleans, instructed his players to intentionally harm opponents, potentially ending their careers (and ironically, his own).  Then we have a coach in Arkansas who was caught running around on his wife only after he wrecked his motorcycle with his mistress riding on the back.  All this happened within a week’s time.  Let’s not forget the events that took place at State College and Syracuse.

There once was a time when coach meant teacher.  It meant mentor.  A coach meant someone you could go to for advice, someone whose office you could walk into and say anything.  Coach meant role model.  Not so much anymore.

We routinely get on athletes, both college and pro, for breaking the law or making poor decisions, yet the people we charge with leading them are making the same damn mistakes.  No wonder the athletes we’ve grown to admire are getting into so much trouble.  Look who’s coaching them.

I don’t mean to stand up here on my soapbox, the whole he-who-cast-the-first-stone thing.  I’m no hypocrite.  I am not without sin and never pretended to be.  However, I am not reaping millions upon millions of dollars to purportedly teach today’s youth how to become better men.  I do my part, sure.  I’ve coached youth basketball and felt bad about dropping the occasional F-bomb in front of the kids, even though they chuckled when I did so.

But how many Arkansas Razorback football players do you think are currently high-fiving their (former) coach for wrecking his motorcycle, his career and his marriage all in one fell swoop?   I’m hoping not many.

Bobby Petrino was summarily fired for his indiscretions but probably not before the school weighed the options of boasting a winning football program against boasting a bad reputation.  What sort of message do his actions and the actions of the university administrators who contemplated keeping him send to the football players?  I’ll tell you in case you weren’t paying attention.  That it’s perfectly okay to act immoral if you’re not expendable, that the rules simply don’t apply to you.  Try telling that to a police officer the next time you’re being arrested.  Petrino deserved to be fired, as did Gregg Williams.

So the next time we get on an athlete for using a stolen credit card or not paying child support, let’s take a closer look at the individuals and institutions in charge of educating them.

We might not like what we find.

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22 Replies to “Coaches Gone Wild: The unfortunate cases of Gregg Williams, Bobby Petrino and Stan Van Gundy”

  1. Pingback: Coaches Gone Wild: The unfortunate cases of Gregg Williams, Bobby Petrino and Stan Van Gundy - BallHyped, NBA | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  2. Love you siding with Dwight even after all the garbage he put Orlando through. You’re right: look at who taught him. Dwight somewhat has an excuse… he’s a stupid 20 something kid in an adult’s body who I’d expect to screw up. SVG though is a grown adult. That was pretty disgraceful.

  3. Hold on a second, Pest.

    I’m not necessarily siding with Dwight, however, Stan Van certainly could have handled that situation better. As you mentioned, he is an adult, the coach. Act like it.

    If you have a problem with Dwight, pull him into your office and discuss it. Keep it in house. Don’t air your dirty laundry so the media can run with it.

    If Stan’s learned anything during his tenure in the NBA, it’s that coaches ARE expendable, particularly when they’re coaching a team with superstars.

    Get results or get bounced.

  4. Please excuse the off-topic post, Chris, but RIP Dwayne Schintzius. He was at the Odome for the Georgia game Feb. 2011 and was introduced to the crowd, got a great ovation. Far too soon for him.

  5. I heard the news about Schintzius, Yaz. Sad stuff. Kid was my age.

    I first arrived in Gainesville when he was doing his thing. Played a huge part in our first ever conference championships.

    Those were fun to watch. My, what a long way we’ve come, huh?

  6. Far be it from me to rub salt in these coaches wounds… ah hell who am I kidding. Petrino is a gutless prick (see Falcons-Atlanta), Williams should be banned for life, and Van Gundy, well being a Ron Jeremy look-a-like is punishment enough don’t ya think.

  7. These coaching fiasco’s really ties into the issues of athletics. There is undoubtedly a lot of pressure that gets put on athletes and coaches today. It is concerning to see these types of things happen on a day to day basis and what gets talked about on First Take, etc. Many athletes and coaches are not ready to live in the spotlight and become celebrity like role models. And as the media pins on everyones mistake, things get blown out of proportion when people make stupid mistakes.

  8. You can’t put Van Gundy in the same conversation with the other two, particularly Gregg Williams. You may agree or disagree with his disclosure, but it’s not like he’s a well-known liar (as far as I know, anyway). Also, if you look at the entire video, he just looks like a guy who’s sick of Dwight’s BS and decided not to cover it up anymore (

    As for Williams, he’s a scumbag of historic proportions. I think his punishment should be suiting up as starting running back for the first team the Saints play next year. 🙂

    And Petrino? Why do we care again that a semipro football coach is schtooping someone other than his wife? In Arkansas, of all places? How many of those players won’t pursue their dream of becoming a rocket scientist because he lied on the altar?

    Chris, I think you’re generally spot-on in your analysis, but in this holy trinity, the son and the holy ghost probably don’t belong in the conversation. Keep in mind that these guys aren’t there to teach anyone how to play tee-ball. Their jobs are all the same: make as much money as possible for their respective corporations. As long as they’re not headhunting (Williams), why is the other stuff more than just a bunch of noise?

  9. Aer…

    Williams probably will be banned for life, Petrino will end up at some division 2A school at a quarter the amount he was making at Arkansas and Stan Van? Well, he’ll likely be looking for work soon as well.

  10. DHS…

    Exactly. Wait til you see my upcoming piece on Guillen and the way the media handled it that fiasco.

    It’s bad enough these coaches walk around with their heads up their asses but then we have to listen to Skip Bayless go on and on about it endlessly.

  11. Fair response, UNC AF.

    Clearly Van Gundy’s actions pale in comparison to the other two, however, the fact that they are all coaches, in charge of leading teams, whether that means molding men and teaching them about character, as well as to obviously winning championships, the comparisons are still apropos.

    Petrino obviously wasn’t fired for having an affair (or two). He was fired for illegally hiring a woman he was intimate with, as well as trying to cover up that affair when it came to the 911 call. Williams wanted people’s heads knocked off.

    Van Gundy did none of the above but one thing he has yet to learn is how to manage people effectively. There are better ways to handle the superstar athlete, of which, in the NBA, there aren’t all that many, which is why it’s such a sensitive issue in Orlando. Right or wrong, in the NBA in particular, egos need massaging. Keep in mind, massaging egos and winning championships aren’t mutually exclusive. Phil Jackson did it for years.

    For the record, Dwight Howard is 26. Stan Van Gundy is 52. I always hoped that with age, comes wisdom. I’m still hoping that as a matter of fact.

    All I’m suggesting is that he could have handled that situation better. Despite the varying extremes of each case, I’m pretty sure all of them could have.

  12. I just got done reading “Swing Your Sword” from former Texas Tech and current Washington State head football coach Mike Leach. I wanted to read it because I wanted to challenge myself to learn more about someone I just “decided” to dislike based on one singular event, the Adam James “torture” situation. I didn’t think it was sufficient getting all the info regarding Leach’s dismissal from ESPN, who happened to be employing Adam’s father Craig at the time and “breaking” all the news surrounding this. The other side of the story is fascinating. We always have to keep in mind the institutions and teams hiring and maintaining these coaches all have their agendas also. Some of them “act out” behind the scenes, others in public. But it’s not just “Coaches Gone Wild” but indeed those who employ them. I liked the fact Leach addressed his firing in detail, filling in some blanks ESPN “forgot” to. Two sides to every story. I guess the point here is when we see a Coach go off the deep end…we have to not only question that individual but those who put – and kept -he or she there in the first place. Back to the book…if you dislike ESPN, Craig James and/or Robert Montgomery Knight…you’ll be happy to read it.

  13. Stan threw someone under the bus ? I was under the impression that the bus being driven by the coach known as the Orlando Magic was already a wreck to begin with ! Dwight’s out for the rest the regular season and quite possibly the majority of playoffs due recurring back spasms .

    Bobby P is suddenly the guy that no one wants to be associated with . Chris Mortensen said that the best thing possible for Petrini is to take a vacant coordinator’s position with an NFL franchise and fly under the radar . Oh really ? That’s akin to saying that this weekend you’ll join Dick Cheney on a hunting trip . You simply know what could very well happen .

    “Must see tv ”
    as Rocket’s trial begins today . Can’t wait to see how Rusty Hardin , his lawyer , treats witnesses Andy Pettite , Peter McNamee and quite possibly the defendant’s wife on the stand . First question posed to be quite possibly asked ” which of you lied under oath about my client ” ?

    LBJ said he was happy last night that fans were cheering him on in Jersey during the game against the Nets . Well Nets’ fans don’t really have that much to cheer about these days but if Jay z should ever give an impromptu performance , then I bet things could very well change . What do you think ?

    Former Saints’ player Scott Fujita and their player rep while he was with the team says he paid players out his own pocket to target opposing players but not to do irreparable harm . All of this at the time coexisted with the “Bounty gate scandal” which he says he apparently knew nothing of. Does Fujita expect the public to believe those statements or is he simply trying to blow smoke up everyone’s a#s ?

    Ryan Leaf’s lawyer’s are impressing upon the judge that their client’s most recent legal missteps are that of a person who’s simply made a few bad decisions and they don’t want his probation rescinded with him being sent to jail . . Wouldn’t it have been favorable if they’d used the “Deborah Le Favre ” (former school teacher & registered sex offender who’d slept with two of her male students who were 12 & 13 at the time ) premise ……….. your honor our client is simply too good looking to go to prison ” . LOL,LOL,LOL ,LOL !!!!

    tophatal …….

  14. With age comes wisdom ? Can either Howard or Van Gundy spell the damn word , much less understand what it means ? There are kids in preschool who’ve shown a great deal more maturity than those two morons could have done separately or combined !

    tophatal …….

  15. SA…

    Actually, there’s three sides to every story, isn’t there? In this case, James’, Leach’s and the truth.

    Leach definitely got the short end of that sword, regardless of what actually happened. He came off looking like the bad guy, as did Mark Mangino at Kansas.

    You’re right on though about the institutions in charge of winning first and educating second. That’s why I brought that up in the piece.

    I wonder if that Leach book flew off the shelves or not. I hadn’t heard anything about it but may check it out.

    I imagine there’s a whole bunch of pirate shit in there as well. Maybe I should just watch the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy instead.

    Nah, can’t stand Johnny Depp.

  16. Al…

    Check this out. Wild stuff.

    With five games left to play, the Magic, Hawks and Celtics all have the same record (36-25). Whoever finishes strong will get the 4th seed and home court advantage. The other two will get fifth and sixth seeds.

    But wait, as I was writing this, my friend Snake reminded me the C’s automatically get 4th place by virtue of winning their division.

    If I’m the Magic, I tank games and try for the six seed, taking my chances against the Pacers rather than having to play Boston.

    Speaking of Boston, what’s that John Kusack/Gene Hackman movie where they rig the jury to sway the verdict? Some John Grisham book-turned-movie. I’m just saying that’s something Clemens might want to consider. What kind of odds can I get on another mistrial?

    And Ryan Leaf’s going to jail? That’s not gonna be a Pete Rose/Martha Stewart type of jail either.


  17. Either way, Al, the Magic aren’t going anywhere, with or without Howard.

    I agree with some of the comments, that there’s only so much Stan Van can do. Dwight should motivate himself and not not give 100%.

    Here’s hoping they don’t get swept.

  18. The Magic mightn’t be going anywhere but Dwight will be . Everyone in their right mind within the East should avoid the Celtics .

    Great movie Runway Jury , starring Gene Hackman , John Cusack Rachel Wiesz .

    I see Zimmerman’s lawyer is using every tool in his tool box to the case moved from C Floria . There’s no conflict of interest if the judge’s husband’s law firm turned down George Zimmerman as a client . Greenburg Traurig was also approached to represent that piece of crap . Answer a resounding no .

    As for Rocket when his case starts I wonder how much time if any will be devoted by ESPN and HLN combined in covering that case . Nancy Hell on Wheels Grace needs something to sink her teeth into .

    Brees’ credibility is sinking lower than the Titanic . His take on the evidence in the NFL’s possession —– he feels is nothing tangible ! Is he kidding or what ?

    As for his former teammate Scott Fujita having his pay to hit reward at the time of the Bounty Gate scandal speaks loudly as to how egregious the actions of the Saints just happened to be . He was paying teammates out of his own pocket but he insists his scheme wasn’t with the intent to do irreparable harm .

    MLB’s RBI initiative appears to have worked wonders . Decline of African-American males playing professionally has dropped from over 30% in 1987 to under 10 % in 2010 . And every 16th April there’s this continued lame a$s attempt to celebrate Jackie Robinson . The league hasn’t been addressing the reall issues facing the real issues facing the game but nut jobs like Kurkjian , Olney and Rob Dibble carrying on as if this is still a necessity . That trio have never said a constructive thing concerning the steroid era much less anything of merit other than to talk about historical stats . If they want to be productive then why don’t ask questions as to how the five largest teams within the game in terms of fanbase have spent in excess of $100 million over the past five years building baseball academies in the Caribbean , Latin America , the Far East and on the African continent but MLB’s spending on their RBI initiative (Returning Baseball to the Inner Cities) amounts to a collective $45 million in that time-span .

    Selig is a pompous tool !

    Let me know what you think ?

    Don’t Start Something If You Can’t Say Something …………

    tophatal ………

  19. Indeed, Chris. The truth is often found somewhere “in between.” I don’t know the full “side story” regarding Bruce Feldman, who helped Leach write “Swing Your Sword,” but he mysteriously left ESPN shortly after the book came out. The book was not complementary to the network and I suspect that was the reason why. There is a bit of Leach’s bucco bravado outlined in the book – he doesn’t seem to be into pirates as much as the media has blown it up to be…but he is definitely into winning. The politics at play at Texas Tech had him come out with an “L” but he’ll win again. In other news, those Depp commercials for the film “Dark Shadows” look funny. I like the one with “Bang A Gong (Get It On)” playing in the background.

  20. And now, Al, Dwight’s out for the playoffs?

    How long until the Magic revise their statement that Dwight Howard called Rich DeVos’ box not to tell him that he wouldn’t play for Stan Van Gundy anymore this season but that he wouldn’t play for Stan Van Gundy anymore this season “because of his back.”

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