College Coaches Forget Where They Came From

Ryan DietzContributor IJanuary 14, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 13:  Lane Kiffin (L)  the new college football coach of University of Southern California speaks during a news conference at Heritage Hall on the campus of USC on January 13, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

What is a good coach?

One who wins multiple conference titles, packs the stadium, and generates pro prospects?

Or is it one who graduates players and turns teenagers into strong character individuals?

Along with the consistent pressure to win national championships, to fill stadiums, bring in millions of dollars, which in turn forces lesser men to cheat, college coaches forget what their purpose is.

According to an article written by Jay Paterno on StateCollege .com , Joe Paterno started off as a coach at Penn State for $20,000. No negotiations, but he did have tenure, meaning he was no bigger than any other professor or faculty member that had impact on the students of the university.

He was a state employee and he was only a football coach.

After consulting with several college coaches over the years, I have come up with this definition: A college coach is someone who develops young men into quality citizens that make an impact on the world while trying to win games, teaching teamwork, work ethic, and promoting physical well-being through competition.  

There are few coaches left in the game that are truly trying to do that.

As Paterno points out, many coaches are bringing in yearly revenues of upwards of $5 million dollars, into their own bank accounts. As education costs skyrocket, and many parents are taking out a second mortgage just to send their kids to college, coaches are getting richer...for being a state employee.

The NCAA may have no answer for this, as there may be no way to reform this. Coaches can freely go wherever they want—it is a free country.

However, coaches are in it for themselves. They stay at one school and bolt to a new one. They want the glory, the fame, and of course the big paycheck. Coaches don't want to build a program, produce quality men, and be teachers. 

A good coach to me is one who builds a program around integrity. That means making kids go to class, no NCAA violations, and recruiting the right type of student.

Notice I said student. 

Many of these football and basketball factories are not doing what an educational institution is supposed to be doing, creating an environment for learning and development. Education in this system is lacking and college sports are just a microcosm of that.

I'm not blaming the NCAA for all the problems, but ignoring the problem is not helping. Maybe it is time for the NCAA to create stricter guidelines on grade point averages, community service, and in the case of basketball, years in school before turning pro.

If they do, some coaches will just find a way around it.