B1G brother is watching coaches' conduct

January, 17, 2012
1/17/12
1:00
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Big Ten football coaches are immersed in recruiting these days, but they should pay attention to a recent incident on the hardwood.

It involved Iowa men's basketball coach Fran McCaffery and a chair. Some are calling it the Fran Slam.

[+] EnlargeBo Pelini
Bruce Thorson/US PresswireOutbursts by coaches, like this one by Nebraska's Bo Pelini, seem likely to draw a stern reaction from Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany in the future.
For those needing more information, McCaffery, incensed at a questionable call and at his team during a drubbing at Michigan State, slammed a chair on the court during a timeout. Not surprisingly, the Fran Slam became a YouTube sensation, and it also appeared on the radar screen of Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany.

Safe to say, Delany wasn't thrilled.

From USA TODAY:
Delany didn't name names but told USA TODAY in an e-mail Sunday: "The conference did communicate its concern regarding certain conduct during the Iowa-MSU game to the institution through Iowa's athletic director, the coach's direct supervisor.
"The conference did not ask for, nor did the conference expect, an apology from the coach. The conference is primarily focused on future conduct, not statements of apology. The conference does not expect similar conduct in the future."

That's a very Delany way of saying: cut it out.

Iowa athletic director Gary Barta chimed in, saying that while he loves McCaffery's passion and style, "It's important his passion doesn't cross a line that distracts from our greater goals. That's what happened last week."

McCaffery says he's not going to change and will continue to show emotion on the sideline. But I have a feeling those chairs are safe for a while.

Football coaches had better take notice, because we're in an age when every gesture is caught on camera and will make its way to the Big Ten office. One too many blowups could lead to repercussions from a league that wants its coaches to be good public representatives.

The Big Ten has some coaches known to get a bit riled up on the sideline. Nebraska's Bo Pelini had some well-documented issues in a 2010 game at Texas A&M. Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald is very animated during games. Although a gum-throwing Bill Lynch isn't around any more at Indiana, there aren't too many Tom Landrys in this league.

Will the McCaffery incident change how football coaches conduct themselves during games? Probably not. Should they pay attention to what happened? Absolutely.

Fans seem to be split on this issue. Most want their coach to be passionate and energetic. As a Chicago Bears fan, I struggle with Lovie Smith's perpetually stoic sideline demeanor.

But I've also heard from some Nebraska fans irked by Pelini's blowups (imagine if Mike Stoops had ended up in Lincoln, too?).

How do you want your coach to behave on the sideline during games?

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