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Coaching in these times is not a job this writer wants

August 26, 2012
By Craig Remsburg - Senior Sports Writer ( , The Mining Journal

Several years ago, my oldest son, Clint, suggested I help coach one of his youth hockey teams.

"You know the sport and I think you'd be good at it," he said.

I told him my job required a lot of time and effort, that I was content watching as many of his games as I could and I might not know as much about the intricacies of the sport as he thought I did.

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Craig Remsburg

It was my way of saying nicely "no way."

That didn't stop me from making a few "suggestions," however, as to how he - and later, his younger brother, Connor - could improve his game.

After watching the prep coaching turnover in Superiorland the last few months, there's no way I'd ever want to be a coach of any sport.

Varsity girls basketball coaches Tom Hammar at Westwood, Brad Pflueger at Gwinn and Gregg Nelson at Negaunee have all been relieved of their positions for various reasons.

In addition, longtime Marquette Senior High School hockey coach Joe Papin has resigned to "recharge the batteries."

Whether it's because of contentious parents, unsupportive administrators and-or burnout caused by the demands of the job, coaching these days has become extremely difficult.

It used to be a coach was - good or bad - a dictator. What he (and later, she) said or did wasn't challenged. It was either his way or the bench.

Good coaches never abused that power, though. They kept their players in line while still making it fun to practice and compete.

Parents largely stayed silent, even if their son or daughter wasn't - in their minds - getting a fair shake or enough playing time.

Not any more. Parents are more aggressive and vocal about their displeasure, bypassing the coach with their complaint(s) and going directly to the school principal, district superintendent and-or school board member to demand satisfaction.

I'm not saying the aforementioned hoops coaches were saints. I'm sure they did some things they would like to do over.

But all served at least five years, and in Hammar's and Nelson's case, more than 30, as coaches. They had to be doing something right to last that long.

But over that many years, you're bound to make enemies. These days, it seems to be so much easier to tick people off.

It's getting harder and harder to coach. I'm surprised anyone would want to put up with what coaches have to these days.

Why do it? Is working with young student-athletes to improve their skills both as players and human beings worth it with all the crap coaches have to put up with these days?

I hope so. If not, why would anyone want to coach?

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is



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