A thought came to me while watching Ernie Kent's press conference yesterday. For those of you living in a vacuum, Kent was "fired" on February 22nd and elected to finish out the season. The news of his termination broke while he was finishing up the season
sweep against our Cougs in a pretty unceremonious fashion (during the middle of the game). Yesterday, he faced the media at a press conference about his own firing. For that, I respect him. This isn't about Ernie Kent, though, it's about what I saw watching him get choked up answering questions.
For as much as we rip collegiate players and coaches, and most of us are guilty (including myself), we sometimes forget that there are people behind what we see on the court. The athletes are college kids, charged with going to class, getting an education, and performing on the court/field to go along with it. Between going to class and doing everything else a normal college kid does, they're practicing, lifting weights, and studying up on the next opponent. The coaches are in a job that has more stress then most of us will experience in the working world. When they aren't at practice teaching their players, they're studying film. During the offseason, they're on the road recruiting. The job doesn't stop for their own lives.
When I was in school, Bill Doba was a prime example of this. As much as Doba is blamed for the current state of the football program, most forget that his wife was battling cancer throughout his entire tenure as coach, passing away
in the offseason before he left in April of 2006. The job never stopped for him while all of this was going on. As I watched Ernie Kent end his press conference, his last thought was that he'd given his heart and soul to the basketball program. He recounted a time that he buried his father before rushing to Buffalo to coach his players later that day. The job didn't stop for him, either.
When we write about coaches and players, even in the heat of the moment, it is important to remember that these are people, too. Family members, friends, and even the players and coaches themselves can see what you write and post online. It's all out there for the public to see. Constructive criticism with useful evidence to back it up is good and provokes thoughtful discussion. Ripping a player or coach or player without any insight as to why does the opposite. It's something to keep in mind before throwing out another "Fire Bone" or "Klay sucks".