In CBS' Packer's analysis, coaches spread too thin

ON THE AIR

March 28, 1995|By MILTON KENT

As the attention of the sporting world focuses on the Final Four, the microscope continues to zoom in on the coaches, who face a greater glare than ever before.

And as CBS lead analyst Billy Packer notes, some, like Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and Maryland's Gary Williams, have had to take a pause from the pressure because they haven't managed their time well.

"You only have so many places that you can spread your time. All of us are in a position of time management, and this position requires time management far beyond anything even conceived five or six years ago," said Packer.

"That is probably what's bringing on the stress, not the stress of basketball, but the stress of the outside. That is true with every one of these guys that falls in the category of having gone down this year."

In Packer's view, the college coach at today's high-profile program has added to his list of responsibilities a series of duties, including corporate, endorsement and fund-raising tasks, that might have made his predecessor recoil in horror.

"Plus, his head is on the line for things other than wins and losses. There are 8 million excuses now to fire a guy," said Packer. "We've had them all the way from he doesn't win enough games to he doesn't handle himself in public properly to the fact that he doesn't graduate his players to the fact that some kid got caught on drugs to the fact that they're not selling enough seats to the fact that he broke NCAA rules.

"A coach and his department basically has to cover the waterfront of responsibilities. Although he's not the guy who admits the students and he's not the guy who teaches the students, his ultimate responsibility is to graduate the students."

Before you label Packer as an apologist for coaches, a charge he has been branded with, he responds that most of the big-time coaches are paid handsomely for the jobs they have been asked to perform.

"It's not like these guys have been asked to do these things for nothing. High-profile coaches now make upward of $500,000 a year. [Former UCLA coach] John Wooden made $26,000. Now, John Wooden wasn't asked to do these things, but John Wooden didn't get paid," said Packer.

"Everything is risk and reward in life. The risk is you're taking on the job, and the job is all-encompassing. The reward is if you're successful, you've got yourself a very lucrative position. Now, which way do you want it, coaches? You can't have it both ways."

ESPN follies

Boy, that Keith Olbermann continues to amuse.

Sunday night on ESPN's SportsCenter, Olbermann got off two of his most entertaining witticisms.

After a baseball strike report in which Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf analogized players union chief Donald Fehr with cult leader Jim Jones of Jonestown infamy, Olbermann quipped that there was no truth to the rumor that Fehr would reply by "comparing Jerry Reinsdorf with the worst person he could think of . . . Jerry Reinsdorf."

Olbermann's best was still to come. While noting that the Minnesota Timberwolves had lost 50 games for the sixth straight season, the Cornell grad said the team was "drooling the drool of regret on the pillow of remorse."

Yucky? Yes. Funny? You bet.

SI jinx

Guess we'll all turn on the Kentucky Wildcats now that they've been anointed by Sports Illustrated as the new team whose video will help the magazine sell a few more subscriptions. Sales might be a little higher if the Wildcats actually had won a title in the past 15 years or so.

Speaking of SI, its staff just took a big hit, as Rick Telander, author of the successful "Heaven is a Playground," is leaving to join the Chicago Sun-Times as a sports columnist.

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