Saturday, April 21, 2007

Coaching and Personal Discipline

If you can’t be on time be early. If you can’t be early, don’t show up.

Even before I heard Tim LaVallee speak, the note on the chalkboard that greeted me when I entered the first team meeting as a walk-on to the Bates Ski Team in the fall of 1990 gave me an inkling of what I was getting myself into. Mercifully, I had arrived a couple minutes early, and was spared the point to the board, and acidic look which welcomed the handful of poor souls who did not show up on time. Here was a coach who was not merely interesting in Blood, Sweat and Tears. [In point of fact, it was skin left on the road during fall roller ski training rather than tears that was important, but that is another story]. He was also interested in instilling the importance of discipline in us, a point underscored by comments he made while we signed the forms indicating that we would refrain from alcohol during the four month season:

“If you screw up, two things are going to happen. First I am going to kick your ass. Second I am going to kick your ass off the team.”

Far too few coaches, especially in the revenue sports, take this page out of the Tim LaVallee school of coaching. Cheers must, however, go to Louisiana State football coach Les Miles, who decided that he did not want to improve his fifth place position in the Fulmer Cup, and booted three players, DB Troy Giddens, and offensive linemen Kyle Anderson and Zhamal Thomas off the team on Thursday. Giddens and Thomas were already suspended after their arrest and charge of burglary and identity theft on April 9. Anderson was arrested on April 16 and charged with second-degree battery. Miles commented:

"There is a standard that we insist upon with members of our football team when representing this university, our community and the state of Louisiana," Miles said in the LSU news release. "When that standard isn't met, some adjustments must be made. In this instance, it's the dismissal of these three players.

"It's unfortunate, but this action is necessary. I wish these young men well in their future endeavors."

He elaborated further in an interview:

"There's a responsibility to playing football here and representing a great state and a great school."

"There's a responsibility," Miles said, "and with that responsibility comes privilege, and the privilege is taking the field. Our guys have got to be respectful of that, and they will. They will be."

Urban Meyer and Steve Spurrier take notice.

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