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A-HOLE COACH DIGEST: The Story Of “The Grip”

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.

You'll always make this series if your coach is a drunk who calls white people n—gers



This clown would routinely show up to practices 20 minutes late, wasted and reeking of cheap whiskey and cigarettes. This was generally amusing for about the first 10 minutes until he would scream at everyone for being sloppy and challenging at least one of us to a fight. His "practices" usually consisted of two parts: layup drills and scrimmages. Since we had 9 guys he would routinely step in and try to relive his glory years as the 10th man. His playing style generally consisted of no-look bullet passes to no one in general that would land 10 yards out of bounds and picking up the ball like a football and trying to lower his shoulder into anyone near him. There were at least 3 occasions where he stopped the scrimmage to throw up in the water fountain when the bathroom was about 10 more feet away. There was also the practice where he ran over his son, who was none too pleased and got up and slapped his old man. They grappled and spat at each other for about 3 minutes until one of us eventually stepped in and broke it up.

The highlight of the season came in the last game of the season when his son (who had just gotten whistled for —not joking— his 6th traveling violation of the game) decided to berate the ref with a series of expletives. As this was a Catholic-run league, the ref didn't hesitate to eject him from the game, as well as the gymnasium. His dad wasn't too happy with junior, and the frustrations boiled over on the bench area when his son took a swing at pops and a repeat of the practice incident ensued. Just about everyone in the gym was horrified, including the ref, who called the game and told our coach he'd be reporting the incident to the league supervisor. Ol' coach wasn't too pleased with this and unleashed a series of stunningly offensive insults at the ref, including peppering his tirade with plenty of "n-words" (the ref wasn't black). Surprisingly, our school didn't field a team our senior year.

Prove him wrong, children. Prove him wrong!


When I was in seventh grade, a large group of us walking down the hallway almost got plowed into by the school's basketball coach, who went sprinting by. Following close behind him were two or three cops, who chased him around a corner. That was the last anyone ever saw of the guy. Apparently, a female student accused the coach of having a small penis, so — like any grown man insulted by a 13-year-old — the coach decided to prove her wrong by whipping it out in front of her and the rest of the class.


This is how you motivate a group of young, insecure men


We'd had a good week of practice, for some reason, which would happen occasionally, after which we'd often still get beaten. When that happened, our coach used to fall back on the "I can't actually make the tackle/block for you, all I can do is tell you where to be" line, in which coaches shift fault from their planning to the players' execution. Before this game he decided he'd get a jump on parsing blame and gave us the following rouser:

"These guys haven't lost yet. Can you beat them? You had a great week of practice, I'll say that. I think you CAN beat them, I just don't think you WILL."

And with that, he sent us on to the field, where we were summarily destroyed.

"You put what?" "Liquid heat." "On their what?" "In their jocks!" "That's outrageous!"



My high school basketball coach was a mega ahole and a huge weirdo to boot. He was such a large ahole that my grandfather (who I'm pretty sure didn't care for me at all) would refuse to acknowledge his existence when they crossed paths in our small town. This coach had a unique ability to traumatize every one in our school. He used drivers ed as a chance to get all of his personal errands done. (I once had to sit in the car for an hour in front of a weird house in the middle of nowhere while he practiced bow and arrow with some other hillbilly out back.) Everyone at the school had several good Coach Ahole stories... but the real gems came from the lucky few who got to spend time with him on the varsity basketball team.

Coach did a lot of ahole things to his basketball players. A few years before my time he got in some trouble for smacking a player with a clipboard. After his brief run in with violence he had scaled things back to mostly humiliation. One of coach's peccadilloes was a somewhat alarming attachment to jockstraps. Before the first basketball practice coach would give you your very own jockstrap with your initials emblazoned on the front. It was made very clear to us that our jocks should be worn at all times during practice and games. One of coach's favorite humiliations was to yell "JOCK CHECK" during the middle of practice. Did I mention that the varsity cheerleaders practiced in the same gym at the same time? A jock check meant lining up on the baseline... dropping your pants to your ankles and proudly displaying your humiliating man-lump for coach (and the cheerleaders) to see. At least a jock bunches the twig and berries together and makes it look a little bit more flattering than the sad truth.

Midway through my senior season, we were at an away game... in a smaller and crappier town than my small and crappy town and Coach surprised us with brand new jock straps before the game. We didn't think twice as we each opened our individually wrapped jocks, suited up, and headed out on the floor for the game. Apparently coach normally washed our new jocks before handing them out. On this day, like a parent on Christmas morning, he was too excited about seeing our rosy faces as we unwrapped our new jocks to remember to wash them. You can imagine what happened. During the first half, one by one, everyone on the team started fidgeting with their crotches. At one point I went over to a buddy of mine and declared my balls to be the new gates to the underworld.

At halftime the team raced into the locker room and immediately removed our pants. People were trying everything to soothe their ball-fires. One guy was at the sink desperately throwing water on his junk. Another guy tried rubbing chap stick on his nuts (note to the reader... do not try this). I ended up wetting toilet paper and daintily dabbing the area all through halftime. A normal human would recognize his error and allow us to remove our jocks and freeball it for the second half. Coach would have none of it. Basketball could not be played without jocks. A few lucky souls had compression shorts and put their jocks on top of them. The rest of us stuffed tp into our jocks and tried our best to limp around for the second half. I have no idea if we won or lost the game... but I do remember that my balls were a flaming ruins for a week after that. Thanks coach.


Jesus hates your cubic zirconium stud


So I went to a Christian college, one of those fundamentalist ones where you can't teach evolution or be damned to hell. Our Dean of Students, a former wrestling coach, was a guy who was real interested in the students' well-being. To put it another way, he was a Bible-thumping dictator who had "rats" in the dorms to whisper every single transgression to him, no questions asked, something he made very public to anyone who would ask.

I got harassed by him on numerous occasions, for atrocities ranging from buying a textbook from the bookstore when I had lost mine and returning it when the class was over, skipping chapel more than the allowed amount over a semester and doing a Google image search for Carmen Electra. (Seriously. Thanks, you IT snitches.) Every time I walked into that office, he heavily implied that I risked suspension for the latest offense.

Every time you get invited to his office, expect to be lectured for at least 45 minutes with plenty of anecdotes from his coaching days thrown in. Well, on one occasion he tells me about this time he had to coach this punk kid in high school who had no respect for authority. Every time he had to coach this kid, he had a hard time getting through to him. He just did not have the proper respect, and coach expects respect. The kid even wore an earring during practice after coach told him to remove it! What a rebel.

So the kid walks in one day for practice, once again wearing the earring, and Mr. Dean of Students looks me in the eye and tells me: "So I grabbed the earring with my teeth and ripped it out of his ear."

Needless to say, my eyebrows were hovering three inches over my head. I said nothing.


This may be our finest story yet


In 1985, I was in 7th grade. We had a brick shithouse of a gym teacher named Mr. X. The students all referred to him as "The Grip," though never to his face. The Grip was the type of guy that, regardless the weather, would wear a t-shirt and those rayon football coach shorts made by Bike. You know the kind: what today we'd call "John Stockton Nut-Huggers." Anyway, The Grip was the type of gym teacher who would explain what we were doing ("this is a chest pass, this is a bounce pass," etc) and would then proceed to sit down and read the paper while we simply tried not to fuck up in class. Occasionally, somebody would fuck up, and The Grip would fire a basketball, volleyball, football, floor hockey stick, whatever, at the student's head. The class would right itself, and we'd get back to the business of gym class. One particular winter, we were charged with swimming in gym class. Trouble was, we had no pool. So the class would take a 10 minute bus ride up to the high school and use their pool. It seemed like a waste of time, but who were we to argue?

Over the years, an urban legend arose of a tradition which occurred whenever students went to the high school to swim. As the legend told, it was custom to push The Grip into the pool on the last day of swim lessons, and he would (naturally, we assumed) see the humor in it, and all would be right with the world. So a bunch of us pimply faced dipshits convinced our classmate Don to push The Grip into the pool on the last day. Now Don was no ordinary 7th grader. He stood about 6'4", and a touch over 260lbs. He was a big, big boy. He was also, however, a huge pussy - incapable of hurting a fly. Don looked like Andre the Giant, but acted like Andre Agassi's hairpiece - pure fluff.

The Grip has us in the pool, swimming away, and the whole time we're goading Don to push him in. As the end of class nears, Don gets out of the pool and walks over to The Grip, who is (naturally) reading his paper. "Um, Mr. X? There's something stuck in the filter in the pool."

"Get back in the pool, Don."

"But Mr. X, there's something wrong with the filter. It's spitting debris back into the pool."

So The Grip looks up at Don with simmering annoyance, gets up, and walks to the edge of the pool. Don, putting the entirety of his weight behind him, proceeds to push The Grip into the pool, eliciting a roomful of cheers from his classmates. Don has the widest, most shit-eating grin on his face.... for about 5 seconds. The next sound we heard was the "slap" of wet newspaper upon tile flooring. Then we saw The Grip emerging from the pool like the Creature from the Black Lagoon, with fury and revenge in his eyes. The Grip stands to his full height and charges at Don. He grabs Don by the neck, throws him into the locker room door, and shoves him into the locker room. The sounds from the locker room were frightening, to say the least. The Grip proceeded to beat the hell out of Don, whipping his ass. We could hear the beatdown. When they both came out of the locker room, The Grip was wearing Don's clothes, and Don was wearing The Grip's soaking wet clothes, including the football shorts. Don was also wearing multiple full-hand slap prints, raised welts, and fresh bruises. Needless to say, we all got our asses into the locker room, changed, and got the fuck on the bus. What followed was a very quiet bus ride back to the middle school.

When we returned to school, nobody spoke of the incident. Nobody dared to speak of the incident until some of us were called down to the vice-principal's office. There, we spilled our guts, scared of retribution from The Grip, yet pissed at the fact that he basically kicked the shit out of our classmate. Even though we all told the same tale, nothing happened to The Grip. He was back in the classroom that very day, and the next, and the next. Again, this was the mid 80s and The Grip was tenured. Don's bruises eventually went away and we didn't go swimming again.

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