Mike Woodson brings a unique perspective to the Mike Rice firing at Rutgers. He considers himself an old school coach who is highly demanding of players.
But Woodson believes that there is a difference between being demanding and abusive. The Knicks coach said on Thursday that Rice’s behavior at Rutgers was unacceptable.
“I just don’t think you can do that. All players got to be coached differently and I think for a lot of us coaches we yell and scream and we try to get our point across and at the end of the day, we hope that the guys that you’re coaching understand that you’re just coaching,” Woodson said on ESPN New York 98.7 FM’s “Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco.”
Rice was fired on Wednesday after a video on ESPN’s Outside The Lines showed the Rutgers coach striking players and hurling homophobic slurs at them. Rutgers AD Tim Pernetti, who fined Rice $50,000 and suspended him for three games after seeing the video late last year, resigned on Friday.
To Woodson, there is a line between coaching with intensity and being abusive toward a player. He believes it is a coach's responsibility to figure out what style his or her players respond best to.
“At the end of the day, if players understand that most coaches are in their corner and want them to be successful than it’s a win-win situation for everybody,” Woodson said.
Woodson played at Indiana under Bobby Knight in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
He said Thursday that Knight never used the tactics that Rice used in the video. Knight reportedly choked a player at Indiana. When video emerged of the incident, it was a factor in his firing.
“Knight was tough but he never took a ball and cracked somebody across the head or anything of that nature and I would never do that,” Woodson said. “Just from a coaching standpoint, I don’t think that’s the right thing to do.”
Woodson said the norm for coaches has changed since he played at Indiana.
“I just don’t think that approach to players works anymore. These young guys, they want to be loved and patted. And I think you’ve got to show both sides. I do. I don’t think it can be one way as a head coach,” he said.
Of Rice’s behavior, Woodson said, “I feel for the coach but again, I don’t think you can do things like that in terms of what we saw on the video."