So Luke Fickell, age 37, was introduced as Ohio State’s interim (for how long?) football coach today. I watched a few seconds of the press conference, and was immediately turned off. Not by the university or the man himself, but by the machismo; the bluster; the mind-melting cliche (the big advice he received from Jim Tressel: “Be yourself.” Wow.)
Why do all college coaches refer to their teams as programs? And why do all college coaches feel the need to boil everything down into three or four words? And why do all college coaches utter nonsense like this:
Let me be clear today. The 2011 Buckeyes will not be about comparing and contrasting what we’ve done before, but what we believe we need to do to move forward. It will be about respect, toughness, and being men-of-action.
Respect for the great state of Ohio, for the histories and traditions that have come before us, and most importantly, for the respect of one another.
Toughness. We will embrace the expectations as well as the grind and pressures it takes to be successful on and off the field.
And to be men-of-action. It won’t be about words; it will be about us being as one, playing as a team and a family with the selfless, all-in mentality. Ohio State is so much bigger than any one team, one player, one coach, or one situation.
Luke, you are a football coach at an academically mediocre college that—sans sports—has very little to speak of. The “men” coming to play for you are there for a single reason: Sports. They’re not student-athletes, but athletes. Let’s call this what it is: A money-making machine; a corporation. You are the CEO—win, and you survive. Go .500 (even with an amazing team GPA)—you’re doomed.