Friday, December 21, 2007

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Do Senior Coaches Ever Graduate?

Although some people find it difficult to believe, most college athletes do not major in eligibility. And even though there are jokes like the player who received his grade reports that showed 5 F grades and a D- in Music. He went to his coach to ask what he was doing wrong. The coach wrapped his arm around the players shoulders and said, "You're putting in too much time studying music." Despite the stereotypes coaches have spent the past couple of decades providing academic support services to help their players graduate and move on into the world.

Such is not the case with the coaches themselves. Despite the merry-go-round of fired coaches each year many emulate the battery-operated bunny and go on and on and on. One such long-in-the-tooth coach is Florida State's Bobby Bowden who has been in the business so long that he has children and perhaps even grandchildren who either have or could possibly coach against him.

But the Great Grandpa of college coaches is Penn State's JoePa, more formally known as Pennsylvania State University's Joe Paterno who has been coaching at the school for as many years as Heinz has varieties -57. Like the Energizer Bunny, he keeps going and going and going. He has nary a hint of gray on the pate and runs with the big dogs each day at practice. JoePa puts the "Happy" in Happy Valley. And, oh yes, today he also puts the "Happy" in Happy Birthday as he celebrates his 81st.

Here are some stats that are probably not found in the usual places: Coaches Bowden and Paterno have a combined 75 years of head coaching experience at their current schools. They also have 744 wins between them with Bowden holding a two game edge. During his 500 game career as a head coach, Paterno has coached in 34 bowl games. He is currently preparing his team for the Alamo Bowl in which they'll play Texas A&M. During the time since Paterno took the head position at PSU, A&M has had eight head coaches.

Why can't these coaches graduate and move on like their players do after five years or so? Perhaps one reason can be found in the story about the starting running back who failed his math class. His coach took him to the professor's office and pleaded for a retest so the player could play in the upcoming big game. The professor thought for a moment and said, "Ok, I'll give you a passing grade if you can tell me, quickly, what is 6X8?"

Without blinking the running back said, "48."

The coach responded, "Give him another chance!"

A little blogging music maestro... How about "Heartache By The Numbers?"

Dr. Forgot

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