Coach's Resignation A Tragedy For Payson


Was the resignation of Payson High School boy's basketball coach Randy Wilcox the result of a parent crusade?

The answer to that probably will never be known since privacy laws prevent school administrators from detailing such personnel matters.

To write an accurate portrayal of what happened is almost impossible because of those constraints. Understandably, Wilcox says little because he wants to walk away from the situation with his head held high, knowing he was making the decision in the best interest of his family.

One thing is for sure, the barbs being thrown at the former coach were beginning to take their toll on him, his wife and two children.

Poll the coaches in the school district and you'll quickly learn that most are sickened by the situation surrounding Wilcox's resignation.

Is there something amiss in schools and society when the pressure on a high school coach becomes so great, he has to end what had been a highly successful 20-year career?

Too many fine coaches at Payson High, and many other schools as well, have decided to step aside rather than subject their families to the unrelenting criticism of a few players and disgruntled factions in the community.

Wilcox's resignation is a sad entry in the sports history of Payson High School. You can bet that other coaches will be turning in their resignations by the end of the year.

Great advice

In a recent speech, former Duke University Academic All-American basketball player Dick Devenzio doled out some invaluable advice to young players.

It was entitled, "Oh gee, what a tragedy, you don't have a perfect coach."

He said:

"What a surprise. No one does. Doesn't matter where you go. Division I stars like Mike Chappell (at Michigan State) and Chris Burgess (at Utah) both transferred from Duke. They don't think Mike Krzyzewski is the best coach in the world.

"Not every player at Tennessee thinks Pat Summitt knows everything or works perfectly with her personnel. Same with Geno Auriemma at Connecticut and Lute Olson at Arizona. Behind the scenes, even at the very best programs, there are disagreements.

"If you are an intelligent player, of course, you are going to disagree at times with your coach. But that's the given. All athletes have some things about their coaches they would like to change. The better the coach, the more likely he or she is to have strange idiosyncrasies and special ways maybe even irritating ways of doing things.

"Be smart enough not to waste time complaining or even thinking about the kinds of things that every athlete has to deal with. So your coach doesn't do things exactly the way you think he should. Big deal! So what? That's part of the game, everyone has that.

"It's amazing how many athletes will say, 'If only my coach would do such-n-such.'

"The problem with saying and thinking things like that is that athletes get distracted and fail to take time to think about what they need to do themselves.

"For every 60 seconds you spend thinking about your coach's problems, you lose a minute thinking about your own solutions.

"There are many things you can do to make yourself better as a player, in spite of what your coach does.

"So, do yourself a favor: quit thinking about how your coach can improve and spend more time thinking about how YOU can be better."

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