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Wimps need not apply

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Dear coach:

Thanks for your inquiry into our head basketball coaching position here at the University of Utah. As you know we are looking for someone to replace our highly successful coach.

Not that you will have a tough act to follow and a big sweater to fill.

All you have to be is a combination of Al McGuire and David Letterman.

All we ask is that you be funny, smart and entertaining, and produce interviews so good that the national media swoon at your feet and cover your back even when you're wrong.

You must be able to do the post-game show as if you're a standup comic and philosopher. With a single question, you should be able to fill up the rest of the post-game show with intelligent and/or funny banter about everything ranging from high-post play to what a beautiful sunset you saw from your balcony yesterday to how white your team is to how great it would be to coach or at St. Mary's to cracks about your dating life to your feelings about art, history, theater and being polite to waitresses.

Oh, yeah, almost forgot: You have to win 75 percent of your games.

You'll need to take the Utes to the NCAA tournament almost annually, including occasional stops in the Elite Eight, Final Four and the national championship game. You'll need an almost computer-like grasp of games, opponents, situations and strategy and become one of the world's greatest teachers of basketball.

The old coach will be a good model for you in many ways, but there are some other things of which you should be aware.

If you think you can't have a family because you have to spend time breaking down film and watching games on ESPN, then there's a good chance you've got a problem.

If you don't have time to exercise and watch what you eat because you are obsessed with how to win basketball games, you might be pushing overkill, too.

Get a life.

Go ahead, feel free to exercise, eat right and get plenty of rest.

Have a wife and kids, take up fishing, or paint by numbers, or needlepoint and go to bed before 2 a.m. If it costs us a couple of games, hey, we'll live — and so will you. It won't kill you to take up a hobby but it might kill you if you don't.

If you get sick, take some time off but, please, not for an entire season.

If you can turn on the charm and the funny lines for the national media and give them time, you can do the same for the local media and for your players.

Swearing is allowed but within reason. Even though, as the other guy said, lots of inner-city kids talk that way, it doesn't mean you have to do it. A blood-curdling F-bomb from the bench is not going to fly in this town.

If you categorize yourself as a junior Bobby Knight, and feel that you must verbally abuse players; if players start running en masse for parts unknown; if a pattern develops in which players complain about abuse, then you probably better look no further than the mirror.

If your friends, players and assistant coaches are jumping ship as if it's on fire, there's a good chance you're the problem. Don't tell us it was a mutual decision. Don't tell us it's because change is good. We're not stupid.

If you start alienating the likes of Mr. Ute Jeff Judkins to the point that he's joining BYU for crying out loud, not to mention Jeff Jonas or the Grant boys, consider this another red flag.

If you feel the urge to call players names, don't but if you must, there are certain words that are off limits. Please see Chris Hill, and he'll be happy to give you a list of those names.

Let the players talk to reporters (and, thus, fans). This is America.

If you return media phone calls, try not to do it between midnight and 2 a.m. You'll probably think this is funny, but some people like to sleep during those hours.

If you can meet the above expectations, then, to quote a song we frequently hear at Ute games, heeeeey, hey, baby, we want to know, if you'll be our coach.

E-mail: drob@desnews.com