LETTER TO EDITOR: The Mirror Has Two Faces

TO THE EDITOR: This letter is in response to the story written in the latest edition, regarding the women’s basketball team.

After reading the story, which was at the least inflammatory, was the head coach given the chance to respond? The story read like a blog – say whatever you want, and not to worry, you do not have to sign your name. Yes, names were attributed to the quotes and statements by seniors, who seemed to put more effort into the story than they did on the court.

I have spent the better part of my adult coaching life on the D-II level. It is a very interesting level. You encounter student/athletes who have not been recruited by D-I teams (for the most part) but the allure of an athletic award has the athletes look to the D-II level as opposed to D-III. To have any success at all on the D-II level, you need to be at least a little lucky, and more importantly, get athletes who have only one thing in mind – be an overachiever. Because of a young assistant coach leaving for a full-time job in November of 2010, I was able to step in, and give what help I could to Coach Dunlay and the 2010-11 women’s basketball team. For the most part, it was just having a second adult around. Having only one daughter (who was an athlete,) I enjoyed the time with the ladies, who were (and still are) great kids.

Coaching good kids in regard to behavior in the dorm, work in the classroom and presenting themselves in a positive light on campus must be a given. There are no points put up on the board for action and behavior that should be expected. Then, you close the gym doors and go to work on Oct. 15 every year. On this level, there is a personalized conditioning that already must have occurred. Is it the coach’s job to spend three weeks getting you caught up if there is not a personal commitment to being in shape? Pat Summitt (head coach of the Tennessee Lady Vols and all-time winningest coach in women’s basketball) couldn’t help you.

The results of the individual games or season record is a direct result of what you put into it. For sure, the coach is in charge. And as it has been in my experience, coaches get far too much credit for a team’s success, and far too much blame for the failures. It is always about personal responsibility. As coaches, we take these student athletes in at 18 years of age. Work ethic, character and many other traits, be them positive or not, have already been instilled. Hopefully, we can continue to shape those positive qualities. At times not. One thing my players hear a lot, and I believe it to my core, “College athletics does not build character, it reveals it.”

While it is troubling the newspaper did not give Coach Dunlay a chance to respond to a one-sided story, it saddens me more that three young women, whom I grew to care about, would take that kind of shot at their coach. Whether it be the career that awaits them, a relationship with family, or anything else that may happen in their lives in a positive way, it will start with taking full responsibility for all their actions and not blame anyone else.

Translation – before a word comes out of your mouth about another person or his or her behavior, have you looked in the mirror and checked your own?

– Bob Greiner Head Baseball Coach