‘Where have most of the basketball positive role models gone, long time passing”?

Recently I wrote a BLOG about how the Women’s USA Olympic team were so much better positive on and off the court role models then the men’s team was

Now comes a much BIG QUESTION!

What is the answer to the title of this blog?

We used to have, and I say used to have, many positive role models for our children to follow and imitate.

But, today when we had 2 very, very unfavorable presidential candidates who both are very negative role models as they used their mouths to produce negative behavior to many NBA players who use their mouths to trash talk to their opponents and all the others in between I am having a very hard time to find a few?

This BLOG is about coaches and players at all levels, be it elementary school, middle school, high school college, prep or professionals, as positive role models!

In basketball, I think that Tim Duncan’s retirement from the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs 19 year career and the outstanding on/off court positive role model behavior of our Women’s USA Olympic team compared to the Men’s Olympic teams off the court negative behavior are what 2 that immediately currently pops up in my mind as positive role model stories.

In fact, when asked if NBA players are or should be role models a former NBA all-star player said, WE ARE NOT ROLE MODELS.

As you will see further in this blog, I think he is definitely wrong, because all of us are role models regardless of our station in life, whether we want to be or don’t want to be because what we say and do is out there for all of our children and youth to see and hear.

Today it seems it is all about political correctness, too many in betweens (RIG-ONG) of right or wrong, many things are lukewarm between hot and cold, too many the ends justify the means, too many just little lies, not much use of the “Golden Rule”, to many do as I say, not as I do, etc.

As Aaron Tippens old country song (and my coaching theme song over the years) said, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything”.

Today it seems that the end justifies the means and it seems that it is all about winning whatever it is in politics, professional and collegiate sports, or any contest that has winners or losers, etc.

Positive Sportsmanship no longer seems to be the norm, it seems to be just the abnorm.

I can really only really speak about the career I chose (basketball coaching, teaching, athletic and physical education administration) contributions to the decline in the importance of positive role modeling by people who are in charge or in a position to  help develop our youth’s attitudes and character.

The only reason I went into basketball coaching/physical education teaching in the early sixties was to do what the reason/objective to why high school interscholastic athletics were put into the educational curriculum in the late 19teens…………………


Most of  my teachers and coaches were excellent role models. Most taught these important “Life Lessons”. The one that stood out the most who made me want to be a physical education teacher and basketball/baseball coach was my Junior High School physical education and coach, Mr. Frank Charbonneau.

These “life lessons” were also reinforced to me by my parents.

When high school interscholastic athletic programs do not or are not allowed to teach these “Life Lessons”, then all you really have are “high priced intramural programs which only provides for exercise, recreation, entertainment, etc.”.

Many people say that “times have changed”. No time has not changed, a second is still  second, sixty seconds is still a minute, 60 minutes is still an hour and so on.

Time has not changed, PEOPLE HAVE CHANGED, it’s their ideas of what positive/negative values are that have changed and that is the problem.

Regardless of the position a person holds in life they are role models whether they like it or do not like it.

The more a person is  in the public eye at any level, like politicians, athletes, coaches, entertainers, etc., the bigger the role models they are because of their fame.

Certainly with Television, the internet, talk radio, etc., put celebrities in front of our youth on a second, minute, hourly or daily basis.

Today very few people in position of power to influence our youth really seem to care of what kind of role models they are for the youth of our country.

It seems that many of our countries influential people are more interested in themselves and their careers then they are in being positive role models for this countries youth.

Everyone is a role model regardless of their status in the country as far as their position is.

I am going to discuss my career path in interscholastic high school athletics as seen from my experiences as a basketball player, basketball coach, athletic administrator, physical education teacher, official, etc. to try to be a positive role model for my athletes and students.

High School Coaching used to be a basic power of positive role models to teach the “Needed Life Lessons” that I previously mentioned. But it seemed to me that positive role modeling in athletics was at it’s highest peak in the 50’s.

Then thru the past 6 decades, I feel that positive role modeling has dropped about 10% a decade. down 60% plus to just 40% or lower from the 50’s.

 It is very hard for today’s coaches (teachers) to instill these “life lessons” because of today’ changing values of right and wrong, political correctness, secularism, person’s supposedly personal rights, and parental interference, etc.

It used to be in the 50’s when I played in high school and college  thru the 80’s that most of the high school coaches were teachers in the same school that they were coaching.

Today most of the high school coaches are what are called walk on coaches. Many coaches today are not teachers, but become certified by the mpa’s coaching certification program. They are not trained teachers or educators.

Today’s biggest problem for coaches is facing “helicopter parents” who are hovering over their athletes and many complain to school administrations about playing time, team selections, team strategy, etc. and school administrations do not support the coaches in these situations.

It is very hard for coaches today to “Teach Life Lessons” if they have to deal with “helicopter parents”, especially if the teaching of these lessons are not in their schools mission statement or in their objectives of the schools interscholastic athletic program.

This usually means that they probably will not get the needed backing and support from their administrators to in order to teach the life lessons so that their athletes will become positive role models for the youngsters in their community..

What would solve this situation would be to have the MIAAA (Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association). MAC (Maine Association of Coaches) and the MPA (Maine Principals Association) to get together and come up with a standard parent, player, coach, school and MPA contract which puts “Life Lessons” back into the schools and MPA’s interscholastic as its mission statement and it’s main objective which would put positive role modeling back into athletics where it was and is supposed to be.

This type of contract would keep the parents out of the coaches hair concerning 1. playing time, 2. squad selection, 3. team strategy and 4. other players.

I have always referred these 4 things as the “4 CARDINAL RULES FOR PARENTS”!!!!!!!!!!!!.

The biggest problem in public education today is really only the lack of DISCIPLINE..which doesn’t cost any money, it just takes courage to do the right thing for students.

That is why charter, private, Christian schools, home schooling, etc. are growing at a fast rate today. That is also why many people are in favor of the Voucher System which allows parents to send their children to the school(s) of their choice.

It used to be that most coaches influenced athletes by being allowed (and expected to as part of the job description and evaluation process) to be positive role models in being fair in handling all their players the same as far as maintaining and enforcing team discipline, training rules, team/school policies, etc.

The biggest thing I learned over the years as a player and a coach was all players really want from their coach, is for the coach “TO BE FAIR AND HONEST”.

Isn’t that all we really want from anybody regardless of our relationship to them or them to us?

Today it is almost impossible to do this (unless attending the non public schools) because of the way many people have been changed in their thinking and have become much more liberal in these policies.

Coaches taught the “Life Lessons” that prepared their athletes for the real world. Teaching them that life is not always fair, that when you fall off the horse because of your own failure, you don’t blame somebody else or the horse, but you get back on the horse and keep going until you succeed in your endeavors to become a good teammate, a good person and a positive role model to society and the youth of our country.

Coaches cannot really teach “Life Lessons”, unless the school’s mission statement and objectives of it’s interscholastic athletic program and they are backed and supported by the schools departments school board, superintendents, principals, and coaches.

I never measured my coaching success by the number of games or championships my teams won, but how successful my athletes were in their lives.

In fact, I was very fortunate to have a third of my athletes go into coaching of some type.

Many people say, “that imitation is the best form of flattery”. If that is true then maybe, just maybe, I might have been a little more successful then I thought I was in reaching and teaching the “Life Lessons” that I went into coaching to do in the first place.

But to answer the title of this blog, “where have all the positive (basketball) role models gone? THEY HAVE ALMOST (90%) ALL GONE PASSING”.

Where do you thing the positive basketball role models have gone?