Some Coaches Are Not Good

Steve Masiello is the head-coach of the Manhattan Jaspers. He has a bone to pick with the younger generation. Here is that bone, in full:

We’re a fraudulent society from top to bottom. Our society’s fraudulent. Everything about our society is edited. Everything about our society is prearranged so this generation is a fraudulent generation. And what I mean by that is they put their Instagram picture the way they want. They put their tweet out the way they want. Nothing is interactive. Nothing is real so when things don’t go the way people want them to, people really struggle with if it’s not 75 degrees and sunny and the stars aren’t aligned, if it’s not exactly 4 p.m., they didn’t get exactly eight hours of beauty sleep… young people today struggle with it. Our society struggles with that, and for me–I can’t speak for other coaches–I see it more than ever. When adversity comes in, people struggle. They’re not bad kids. This might be one of my favorite groups I’ve ever had. They struggle with adversity. They struggle with–that’s a byproduct of our society today, so I think we’re a reflection of our culture a little bit, not to get too deep.

Masiello let loose with that after his Jaspers – an oddly-named team that he is paid $237,536 annually to coach – lost a not particularly close game against Siena. The loss dropped the Jaspers to an incredibly unimpressive 7-14 overall, and although one would think this is the sort of record that would reflect poorly on the team’s coach, the issue is actually the coach’s players, at least per the Masiello himself, a man who definitely has no ability whatsoever to influence the situation.

This rant will be coming soon to a Facebook wall near you. It will almost certain be posted by somebody who also firmly believes that the only problem with our society today is the fact that it has young people in it, and that these young people today are much, much worse than young people were before. For those wondering, these rants always involve “before” being implicitly defined as when the ranter himself (or herself) was a younger person.

Masiello is not alone in his fury. Earlier this season, Louisville’s women’s coach Jeff Walz lost his mind along similar lines, insisting that his team’s struggles (the Cardinals were 6-2 at the time, with its only losses coming to top-five teams) were the direct result of young people today being worse than young people were before.

“You’ve got to have a will. You’ve got to have a will. Right now the generation of kids that are coming through, everybody gets a damn trophy, OK? You finish last, you come home with a trophy. You kidding me? I mean, what’s that teaching kids? It’s OK to lose. And unfortunately, it’s our society. It’s what we’re building for. And it’s not just in basketball; it’s in life. You know, everybody thinks they should get a job. Everybody thinks they should get a good job. No, that’s not the way it works. But unfortunately that’s what we are preparing for. Because you finish fifth, you walk home with this nice trophy, parents are all excited.”

Walz, for the record, is paid $775,000 annually for these allegedly penetrating societal critiques. And for coaching a team that is actually pretty good, despite his histrionic meltdowns.

Is it worth noting that both of these men are denigrating not only their own players, but also their own players’ parents? Probably. Is it worth noting that both of these men are each making hundreds of thousands of dollars on the backs of their players’ unpaid labor? Probably. Is it worth noting that both of these men are excusing themselves for having any responsibility whatsoever for how their teams performed, essentially insisting that even though they are literally being paid to coach, the very best metric of their ability should be ignored? Probably.

There are two things absolutely worth spending our time on. The first is that both of these coaches are spectacularly guilty of the things that they are claiming to be so deeply concerned about. Take Masiello’s rant: he insists that his players’ problem is that they are unwilling to work hard enough, in the way that he advises and demands, and that because of this, they are not succeeding at the level that they would be otherwise. But Masiello is doing exactly the same thing. Instead of figuring out how to coach his players – instead of, you know, earning his money – he is demanding that they do whatever he demands, whenever he demands it, and when they do not, he insists that they are ones refusing to work hard enough. It takes unbelievable stones to refuse to do hard work, and then to blame other people for not working hard enough. Walz does it too when he implies that his own coaching is exquisite, and that it is his players who have simply failed him.

To put that in much simpler terms: good coaches figure out ways to get through to their players. These two are insisting that they are in fact obliged to do no such thing, and that their inability to is merely a reflection of a younger generation’s failures, rather than their own inability to do the work necessary to get through to their athletes.

But the second thing to spend our time is perhaps the more important of the two. Masiello’s rant might be a classic, but let’s look at it again. This time, I have highlighted the particularly important passages:

We’re a fraudulent society from top to bottom. Our society’s fraudulent. Everything about our society is edited. Everything about our society is prearranged so this generation is a fraudulent generation. And what I mean by that is they put their Instagram picture the way they want. They put their tweet out the way they want. Nothing is interactive. Nothing is real so when things don’t go the way people want them to, people really struggle with if it’s not 75 degrees and sunny and the stars aren’t aligned, if it’s not exactly 4 p.m., they didn’t get exactly eight hours of beauty sleep… young people today struggle with it. Our society struggles with that, and for me–I can’t speak for other coaches–I see it more than ever. When adversity comes in, people struggle. They’re not bad kids. This might be one of my favorite groups I’ve ever had. They struggle with adversity. They struggle with–that’s a byproduct of our society today, so I think we’re a reflection of our culture a little bit, not to get too deep.

Funny thing about Steve Masiello: he lost his job at the University of South Florida after he was discovered lying about having graduated college. One wonders how many of his “fraudulent” players for whom “nothing is real” who “struggle with adversity” can claim the same.

 

Sam Wilkinson

According to a faithful reader, I'm Ordinary Times's "least thoughtful writer." So I've got that going for me, which is nice.

10 Comments

  1. Mock if you want, but I actually think they’re right about schools and youth leagues not counting wins and losses, and just handing all the kids participation trophies instead of championship trophies to those kids that win.

    I think this despite the fact that my children were in a gazillion sports leagues over the past two decades, each of which recorded win and losses to determine who went to playoffs rather than just participation, and the fact that neither myself nor anyone else I know with children that play sports has ever actually seen a participation trophy.

      

  2. It’s funny how the oldest, least hip, whitest bread head coach in the NFL is able to bridge massive gaps of age, race, and class and not just relate to a wide variety of today’s young men, but mentor them successfully.
    Hmm. Maybe there actually is something to the whole “being good at your job” thing after all…

      

  3. Also worth noting is that one of the primary jobs of a college coach is player recruitment. Sports competition, including player recruitment, is a zero sum game. If those other schools are beating you, it is because their coaches are better than you. Whether they are better recruiters or better at coaching the players once recruited isn’t really relevant.

      

  4. Oh, and Manhattan College teams have been called the Jaspers since at least the 1870s, playing baseball. I have no idea why.

      

  5. Our tod, you are truly a national treasure.

    But the best comeback to the trophy thing? Its not the kids who demanded trophies for showing up, it was their parents, who just couldn’t believe little jimmy does anything less than trophy work. Thats where the rot is.

      

    • I read this and wondered, “Do you suppose that this has something to do with inequality and parents fears that if their children don’t get on the gravy train, they will be screwed for life?”

        

  6. Again, the conclusion that the problem is always somebody else’s – and especially the idea that the unpaid player is the problem – is gross. It ain’t trophies in other words. It’s coaches who expect to win without putting in the work.

      

    • There is something particularly unhinged about this rant. It is one thing to go after the players. “We didn’t hustle tonight!” “We lost every 50-50 ball!” “I know for a fact these guys were at a party last night!” If that was the extent of the coach’s criticism, we could actually evaluate it and determine what, if anything his role in those things were.

      But this guy went after society…. beauty sleep… 4pm… what the fuck?

        

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *