Welcome to Asshole Coach Digest, where we regale you Deadspin folk with stories of the meanest, cruelest, most batshit insane coaches you ever had. Email me your asshole coach story here. Off we go.
Before I get to this week's batch of stories, how about that Mark Mangino? I saw snippets from his press conference after Kansas lost their final game of the season, and this was the quote he gave with regards to the accusations of fat assholery tossed his way:
"I don't have anything to say to any decision-makers or anything," Mangino said. "A friend of mine told me something one time I think is a very good way to go about life. That is: I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees."
That's a total asshole quote. Like Mark Mangino even HAS knees. Okay, onto your stories.
Pfft, you only get to slap a player bloody if he's also your kid
When I was 11, I played my first year of organized basketball. Our coach was pretty cool. However one of the opposing coaches qualifies for this list.
We had to play every team in our league twice. The first time we played this one team we sat and stared at their 'top' player. This guy was big. We had to look up to him. Our coach had to look up to him. The opposing coach had to look up to him. We figured this game for a loss right away. However, as many tall men have found out, being tall does not automatically qualify you as a basketball prodigy. The big guy was clumsy as all get out. My guess is he went to bed around 5'3" and woke up the next day at 6'1" and was still trying to figure out what happened.
The opposing coach had no sympathy for his player's recent growth spurt. He demanded the guy dribble the ball down the court even though any of us could steal it from him. If the kid lost the ball the coach would yell out that he was 'worthless', 'fucking worthless', 'fucking worthless bag of shit' and so on. Our coach called a timeout and told us not to guard the guy coming up the court or steal the ball once he got there.
Now instead of calling the big guy useless, his coach is threatening to hurt him; "I will kick your ass if you do that again!", "Trust me, what I will do will hurt your ass much more than it will hurt my foot". My coach calls another timeout and calls the ref over. He asks the ref if there is anything he can do. The ref says 'Well, I can give him a technical the next time.'
More abuse ensued and a technical is called. Now the opposing coach is really upset... not at the ref though. At the big guy who made the mistake that caused him to yell and get a technical. He slaps the kid. Not once... not twice... he slaps the kid to the floor. Blood was coming out the kids nose, cuts around his eyes; our whole team was shocked. My coach steps in and forces the guy away from the player. The ref tosses the coach from the game.
So the coach yells at the big guy, "I am leaving your worthless ass here! Your mom can just search for you" collects the rest of his team and leaves.
It's not over.
The ref tells our coach that we won by forfeit so our coach arranges for us to play an intra-squad scrimmage and invites the big guy in to play with us. He was so happy he was crying. Our coach offered to give him a ride home after the game too. A few minutes go by and it is clear that the big guy had never been taught thing one about basketball. What he did know he picked up from watching people at other games. He improved pretty quickly. And then the police showed up.
The A-hole coach had called the police and said our coach had abused the player. The police came to arrest our coach, the ref, the kids, anyone in the vicinity really. Only after multiple witnesses gave the same story did they leave. I have no idea if they went back after the A-Hole coach.
I'll be brief. When I was 13 and went to summer basketball camp, they made us sit along the side of the court and watch Ryan Leaf show us he could dunk.
50 HOT BULLETS COMIN' AT YA!
Everyone in our mid-1970's junior-high PE class knew it was coming, as it had every year before. We just didn't know when.
On cold rainy days when we couldn't be outside, Mr. X would hold court in a classroom, checking our heads for lice with 2 pencils, ranting about how ‘sneakers' are bad for your feet, preaching that it's unhealthy to bathe in the evening instead of the morning. He was an intimidating guy, everyone was scared shitless of him, especially the less-than-athletic. There was a frail guy in our class who basically had a lifetime exemption from strenuous PE because of a rheumatic heart, but this teacher still made him dress out every class and stand on the sidelines and watch.
Anyway, one day, right in the middle of a lecture, Mr. X suddenly pulls a starter's pistol out of his desk drawer, points it at the class and starts blasting away. Kids are crying, running for the doors, shitting their pants, teacher cracking up in that creepy, madman mass murderer kind of way. I think he later justified it as teaching ‘readiness', and the principal never shut his act down, as far as I know, until he retired.
Spud, as in Gourmet?
Our small town high school was too small for a football team, and somehow over the years volleyball had become sport we played in fall before hockey started (Yes I'm a dude, and yes I'm from Canada). Our coach was insane, often getting ejected from games and occasionally getting physical with players that were not listening. He once pushed me from behind, face first into a cinderblock wall of our school hallways as discipline for ‘goofing around'. I remember him coaching an opposing baseball team in a tournament before he transferred to my school, and after the pitcher gave up a home run to a guy on our team, he visited the mound and yelled obscenities at his pitcher, took of his cap and hit the player repeatedly with the cap until the pitcher started crying and ran to the dugout. We were 13. Needless to say this coach was despised, and a legendary asshole in our community, but thankfully this is what a lot of us remember him most for.
We often had volleyball matches right after school that he coached where he would have to look after his two young children while coaching, daughter about 6-7, son about 4-5, the son we all called Spud.
Now Spud still had a bit of a pants pissing problem, and I don't blame him, I'm sure he took some abuse at home. It happened that once and while during practice that someone would notice that Spud had pissed his pants, alert ahole coach, then coach would yell at him for awhile but never had a change of pants for the kid, even though this happened a few times. One league match we were playing that Spud around for, we were not beating a team as badly as coach thought we should and he was irate, already getting a warning from the Ref for obscenities delivered.
Then Spud starts crying and we look over behind the bench, and there crying. Coach grabs him and picks him up, and immediately we all realize from the smell the kid shit himself. This had not happened before in front of us before. Coach grabs the kid and an extra pair of gym shorts and hauls the kid to the bathroom. I was on the bench at the time, and as soon as he leaves, I immediately alert the ref that we are calling for substitutions and over the course of the next 10 min we sub our whole bench into the game. When coach returned he was not happy. He called timeout and immediately started yelling and screaming at us ‘goofing around', and he's sweating profusely, he wipes his forehead with the back of his hand and leaves a big brown streak across his head. "Coach I think you got shit on your face" "WHAT!?! WHAT ARE YOU FUCKING TALKING ABOUT!?!? OH GOD DAMNIT FUCK SPUD!!!!"
Coach is all in a lather!
Back in the good old days (7th grade circa 1978), after gym class, all boys had to shower. Coach X would NOT allow showers to be skipped. If you played, you showered. One day two kids (mercifully, I was neither of them) tried to skip out without a shower and were caught by the coach. So, the next day all of us were allowed to skip our shower except those two. Those guys not only had to shower in front of the whole class, but they HAD TO WASH EACH OTHER!!! I can still recall coach X telling one of them, "Yeah, that's it. Now wash his chest."
This is the same coach who hit on my mother, in front of me, and also made us run until one kid (me, this time) hyperventilated and THEN thought to ask me if I had any history of asthma.
God, the Seventies were AWESOME
During the early to mid-seventies (when I was 10-12), my parents would sign me and my older brothers up for two weeks of all-boys, day camp during the summer (I suppose so they could lounge about in some semblance of peace).
During the two weeks, we would take a bus ride to and fro, to a local YMCA sponsored camp (Camp Alexander, in MA) at a pond/lake here in the Northeast. It was generally fun and filled with the normal camp goings-on: swimming, archery, tetherball, etc.
However, on several occasions, when it was pouring rain that day – the group I was in, (30-40 10-12 year olds), would board a bus and head back to the city to the sponsoring YMCA (in Lowell, Ma), for a group swim. Here is where it gets screwy – when we arrived at the YMCA (which had a huge indoor pool), we were told that we could have a ‘free swim' for about an hour – but, that we all had to swim naked – yes naked. The reason given to us at the time was that the style swimming trunks back then were mostly cut-off jeans – and the fraying ends of the cut-offs could harm the filtration system – ergo, we must all swim naked.
Oddly enough, no one questioned this and we all happily swam naked – all the while, our camp's director stood by (as I got older I figured out what his motivation was, of course) enjoying the whole scene…Unlike the Catholic Church at the time – I don't believe anyone was harmed or molested or anything – but still, creeeepy.
As I got older, I looked back on this and realized – holy shit, this was fucked up!
Although my memory is hazy-er – I know this free swim took place. Perhaps the I-Team could back me up on this, and corroborate the insanity that was Camp Alexander, in the 70's.