But McElwain made it even worse, cursing Taylor with television cameras focused in on every word. His act was far worse than Taylor’s act. To his credit, McElwain later apologized, and he and Taylor seem to have a good relationship. Nonetheless, the incident it still up for debate. How much should a coach yell and curse at his players? Well, for a lot of people, it depends on how much he is winning.
Certainly, much of Gator Nation is loving and supporting McElwain. They are 5-0 and ranked for the first time in years. So, right now they see his tirade as a sign of “toughness, discipline, fire and passion.” Well, they only see it that way because Florida is off to one of its best starts in years.
I assure you, if the Gators were struggling that very same act would be seen as a coach “out of control, undisciplined, uncaring, who has lost control of his team.”
Now, I am not saying a coach who yells, screams and curses is not a good coach. There is far too much evidence to the contrary. See basketball’s Bobby Knight and pro football’s Bill Parcells.
But I am here to tell you there is another way.
There are some pretty good coaches who actually talk to their players, and treated them like young adults on the collegiate level, and grown men on the professional level. UCLA basketball coaching legend John Wooden never used profanity. He did OK, I believe.
Another coach who did alright is Tony Dungy, who is celebrating his 60th birthday today. Dungy, was the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl (Super Bowl XLI, 2007). He is also a shining example of what athletes can accomplish when they are treated with respect and dignity.
He landed a job coaching with the Steelers at the age of 25, and became their defensive coordinator in 1984. For years, Dungy was high on the list of coordinators who were considered potential head coaches. However, time and time again he was passed over, and often times not even seriously considered for head coaching positions.
But the Indianapolis Colts quickly snagged him up, and Dungy, with young Peyton Manning at quarterback, became a perennial Super Bowl contender. Dungy made the playoffs all seven seasons in Indy, in addition to winning the Super Bowl. He also mentored two future African-American head coaches, Jim Caldwell (Colts, Lions) and Lovie Smith (Bears, Bucs). Dungy’s Colts actually beat Smith’s Bears in Super Bowl XLI.
Dungy handled victory, defeat, a firing, nd a family tragedy with grace and dignity. He is not only one of the best coaches in the game, he is one of the game’s greatest examples of character. Check out his powerful message: