Coaching Transitions & Instant Gratification

Difficult to ignore, all the consternation going on over in Lexington where two players have left the UK squad less than four weeks into the basketball season. More defections may be on the way. The team is off to a less-than-glorious start, and Cat fans are becoming increasingly irritated.

The topic is relevant here for a couple of reasons. First, because so many people in Louisville are watching the turmoil closely. Second and more important, it is another reminder of the challenges that often accompany the ushering in of a new era, also known as a coaching transition.

Many outstanding athletes, idolized much of their young lives, have difficulties adjusting to new ways of doing things. They don’t take kindly to being criticized or having their weakness exposed. When they’ve been successful doing things one way, why should they be expected to change?

People have trouble acknowledging that different approaches can sometimes lead to equal or greater success, resisting or rejecting new ways of doing things. The results are magnified when you’re dealing with so-called super stars.

The same can be said of fan bases. New coach comes in, does things differently, doesn’t have immediate success, and doesn’t communicate the challenges very well. Predictably, many disappointed fans get angry, start pointing fingers.

This scenario was all too familiar to U of L fans during a disappointing football season. Patience became a rare commodity after years of non-stop winning. Once loyal supporters become detractors, ripping even the most respected administrators. Mistakes are magnified, leading to other miscues, losses on the playing field and dismissals of assistants.

Losing is just not acceptable in an age of instant gratification. It’s even more difficult for the new guy on the block. What goes around comes around and it has arrived center stage in Lexington.

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Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

3 thoughts on “Coaching Transitions & Instant Gratification

  • December 4, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    In my boredom at work, I spend a lot of time on the message boards (mostly I am constantly amazed at the quickness with which these people will hit the panic button! Our Cats will take some lumps this year, and there will no doubt be more transfers… but you hit the nail on the head. Patience is non-existant in sports today.

    I’m thrilled to death with Gillispie. I’m really upset about losing Legion, but sometimes things just don’t work, for whatever reasons. I wish him well, and look forward to seeing how we tackle the challenges ahead.

  • December 5, 2007 at 4:01 am

    That’s quite a stretch to spin what is going on in Lexington to Kragthorpe’s failure this season.

  • December 5, 2007 at 10:25 pm

    Jenny, I’m sorry RacerCard did not read your comments before he posted. Our collective point is that transitions are difficult and impatient fans make them even more challenging.

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