It isn't just coaches in the pressure packed world of D-I football who occasionally fly off the handle and maybe challenge their players to a fight. Even coaching at tiny UMass-Dartmouth can try a man's soul.
Jeff Macchi, a senior on the UMD basketball team, says he quit the Corsairs last week after an altercation with head coach Brian Baptiste. (Another senior quit the team on Saturday, but didn't say why.) The two got into a heated argument on the bench just before halftime last Thursday, but in the locker room moments later, Baptiste had to be restrained from throttling his starting guard.
"(Baptiste) comes in like a madman, his face was real red and his eyes," Macchi said. "He untucked his shirt and started taking off his tie, saying, 'Where are you? Let's go. You think you can talk to me like that in front of my kids?' Then he comes at me. I felt that he was actually going to hit me. I was scared because I knew I couldn't do anything back to him because he's an older guy."
Another player on the team corroborated the incident, but it's not clear what set Baptiste off. Macchi's "doth protest too much" explanation doesn't exactly paint a picture of respect for your elders.
(Baptiste) thought I was frustrated," Macchi said. "I tried to get a drink at the water cooler. He grabbed me by the arm and said, 'Stand up.' I just kept walking away to calm down just to avoid anything. I could see he was real (angry). He was like, 'The team's going to need you.' I said, 'Are you kidding me? I'm the only one doing all the dirty work.'"
According to the box score, "dirty work" apparently amounts to 1-for-2 from the floor and five rebounds (in a game the Corsairs was leading by 16 points at the half.) Obviously, no coach should be threatening his players, but Macchi does admit to "using foul language on the bench while commiserating with teammates" and who knows what else he might have said to his coach. Baptiste has been at Dartmouth for 26 seasons and has won 13 conference titles, but perhaps the high-stakes world of Little East basketball (that's really the name of the conference) finally cracked him. Maybe he and Mike Leach, Mark Mangino and Jim Leavitt can retire and form a barbershop quartet.
UMD basketball star says coach tried to attack him [South Coast Today]