Coach Hays’ Unsportsmanlike Conduct #1
Good ole Coach Hays is heading into his third football season not being Football Coach Hays. It is getting a bit easier, I promise. But, seeing as the season is right around the corner, I thought it appropriate to spew some more Tiger football coaching memories to help get the football juices flowing again.
I was mowing today. I do some pretty heavy thinking pushing the mower around the yard, so if I fail to wave at you as you drive by the house, don’t take it personally. I mentally drifted to the topic of if and how a coach can directly affect the outcome of a football game. Besides the obvious methods of scouting, preparation and play calling, I am not a big believer in giving the coach too much credit for players execution on the field (it happens way too often in the NFL and NCAA). I wondered if I could remember a time when I possibly had a direct coaching affect on the outcome of a football game. I thought of three. Here is the first.
We were playing a JV game at Wamego, a league rival, in 2007. First possession, we turn the ball over deep in our territory. We shut them down first two plays. It is third and long, they snap the ball and their QB rolls out toward their sideline. We have their receivers covered like a blanket, with our pass rushers bringing the heat. The QB steps out of bounds, the umpire blows his whistle and our kids ALL stop. The QB nonchalantly throws the ball to the endzone, where their receiver catches it. Play over, 4th down, right? Not right! They call a touchdown! Their fans are cheering, their sidelines is going nuts, and all our kids are standing there dumbfounded pointing to the out of bounds spot from where the QB threw the ball after the whistle.
I go ballistic! To make the situation worse, the officiating crew ignores me. They line up the two-point conversion. I walk out to the numbers, screaming, but still nothing. Each of those four officials knows they are absolutely, completely wrong, and their solution is to ignore me. All one of them needs to do is tell me they screwed up the call and I will shut up. Not going to happen. As Wamego breaks their huddle and trots to the line, I grabbed my Tiger Football baseball hat from my head and launch it at the umpire. It is the most bush league thing I have ever done as a coach. That hat soars over the left shoulder of the umpire. He blows his whistle, waves his arms for an official’s timeout, then turns toward me on the sidelines. If I were him, I would toss my ass out of the game. Better yet, I would toss myself completely out of the stadium and make me go sit on the bus in the parking lot. Instead, since he knows he just made a horrendous call on the touchdown, he looks to the ground and slirks over to where I am standing, hatless.
“Coach, you can’t throw your hat.”
“You can’t make a crappy call like that, especially when it is right in front of you AND it’s a touchdown!”
“And YOU blew your whistle and called the play dead.”
“That whistle must have come from the stands. It wasn’t me.”
“Ha ha ha ha…that’s ridiculous. I have four kids who were close to you, and swear YOU blew the whistle!”
He hands me back my hat, still no eye contact. “Just don’t throw your hat anymore.”
“Just don’t make any more pathetic calls.”
Long story short. We rally from a 6-0 deficit to win 60-something to 6. The boys were so ticked and so fired up after that questionable touchdown play, they completely shut down everything Wamego tried to do. One series in the 4th quarter, we were up big and Wamego started a possession on their 40 yard line. The first three pass plays we sacked their QB for big losses back to their 10 yard line. They went for it on fourth down and we sacked the QB for a safety. Pretty much the story of the game.
Maybe, just maybe, knowing their coach had their collective back that day affected the way the kids performed, and, ultimately, the outcome of the game. What do you think?