Craig Remsburg column: High school coaches need some flexibility

Memo to both current and future high school coaches:

Don’t yell at your players.

Don’t show any emotion during a game, match, etc.

Don’t make your players do something they don’t like doing, even if it’s best for the themselves or the team.

And most of all, don’t make any decisions that will upset parents and/or fans alike.

Just sit/stand there, keep quiet and hope your team wins.

Failure to abide by any of these “rules” and you’ll either be forced out of your coaching job or be criticized so much you don’t want to stay.

John Tiziani resigned recently as the boys’ varsity basketball coach at Ishpeming High School after three seasons.

He cited “outside influence” for his decision to leave, adding some people “just weren’t used to my style of coaching.”

That included continually barking out instructions to his players during games I’m sure many of which went unheeded. Sometimes, athletes just tune out a coach’s constant chatter.

I’m not privy to the “outside influence” Tiziani cites for resigning.

Maybe it was parents who didn’t like his ordering their sons around on the court.

Or maybe it was fans who couldn’t take his courtside intensity during games.

But in every Ishpeming game I covered the last three years, I heard Tiziani vocally praise players for their actions on the court.

Yes, Tiziani is a bear of a man. Yes, he gets excited during games, especially ones that go right down to the wire.

But I also know he cares about his players.

Local former basketball coaches Tom Hammar at Westwood and Gregg Nelson at Negaunee, along with hockey mentor Mike L’Huillier at Marquette, were all forced out largely by parents who didn’t like their coaching styles or decisions.

I’m sure all three, and Tiziani, weren’t saints. They no doubt made coaching mistakes they’d like to correct if they had the chance.

But all of them are decent men who loved coaching with a passion and liked working with young student-athletes. All were hugely successful, as well.

At one time, coaches were “gods” who could do no wrong. They had their way of doing things and woe to anyone who thought differently.

But that wasn’t good, either. It sometimes led to an abuse of power that wasn’t good for anyone.

Times have changed, though. A coach has to be politically correct at all times, responsive to the wishes of his/her players and parents, and be held accountable by fans of the team.

It’s too bad coaching has fallen prey to so much “outside influence” that leads to good coaches – and good people – being forced to leave.

It’s also going to be harder to attract good coaches when the need arises.

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.