November 20, 2009

Help Us Russ Rose, You Are Our Only Hope!

Russ Rose, Head Women's Volleyball Coach at Penn State, is not doing enough for Women's Volleyball.

Oh sure, he has coached more NCAA Championship teams than just a few others, the current Penn State team is on something like a 185 match win streak, the last team is thought to be best in collegiate history, the last time PSU lost a game was during the Clinton administration, in an effort to save the NCAA some money Nittany Lions said "make it a double" when they were engraving last year's NCAA Championship trophy, the Volleyball Director of Operations routinely makes 8 p.m. dinner reservations on the road and Coach Rose always seems as cool as new fallen snow.

There in is how Coach Rose is doing irreversible damage to Women's Volleyball. The Fans-Sports Commentators-Television Cameras don't want a reserved and composed coach, they want drama, emotion, agonizing facial displays, crazy anger at a play gone wrong, screaming at the referee with pure hatred, berating the players and making sure the the focus is routinely on the coach.

Today's collegiate media sporting world is about the coach. The AVCA for years has been doing everything possible, short of buying a network, to try and get volleyball on television and they/us have made the mistake of believing it is the game/players who will sell the product. It is the personality of the coach who sells - the coach of collegiate athletics is today's show. The coach drives ratings, the cameras want the reaction of the coach, the coach gets put into the promos, the competitions are as much about the coaches as about the schools.

I can't tell you who is on the men's basketball team at Kentucky, but I know some guy named John is the coach. Same with Southern Cal football; can't name the quarterback but Pete has won a lot of games. I hear the name of Bill Self as much as I hear Kansas basketball.

Need more proof - Take a good listen to the promo's used by the networks for upcoming games, "Mac Brown and his Texas Longhorns are in for a battle with Bob Stoops and his Oklahoma Sooners", "Roy Williams takes his boys from Chapel Hill down to take on Coach K's Blue Demons". I must have missed the press release of the Mac Brown purchasing the Texas Longhorn football team!?!? This is now the mode de emploi for sports telecasts of collegiate athletics. It makes sense because the players change every year (if not semester), but the power conference coaches tend to have a bit more stability and if they jump schools, it is HUGE news which only enhances their media appeal.

Back to Coach Rose - He needs to buy into this reality of collegiate athletics and understand that just sitting back and waiting for point number 25 in game 3 is only hurting all of college volleyball. What he needs to do is quit editing War and Peace in that 10 inch folder of his and throw it halfway to the Atlantic Ocean next time his Libero passes the ball at the 3 meter line (still hard for me not to call it the 10' line), he needs to be stomping up and down the sideline ever pushing the "DON'T STAND NEAR THE COURT RULE" on every rally, on that rare occasion when he has to call a timeout it should be filled with flying spit, bloodshot eyes and veins coming out of his neck and when the up official dares to make a call against the Penn State Volleyball team Coach Rose needs to whip that sweater vest off, tie into a lethal weapon of wool and catapult it at the offending official!

Winning with class and cordial sportsmanship seems to be no longer showcased in today's media driven collegiate athletic world. Coach Rose is too old school; intense but not showy, professional but not selfish, successful but not arrogant. He needs to quit this mentality and take one for the team - He is our only hope to get to where we all believe salvation will be; television.

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