Video of coaches raises questions on motivation

April 4, 2013 4:57:02 AM PDT
Despite the outrage over former Rutgers head basketball coach Mike Rice's actions, many former players have come out in support of the coach, raising a very interesting question: does such behavior motivate?

Rice bullied and berated his players. His behavior may have continued had the video not entered the national consciousness.

"I think there is still a vestige of coaching philosophy that says when I challenge someone, when I call them names, even push them, I'm going to be building mental toughness, I'm building character," Dr. Joel Fish, the Director of The Center for Sports Psychology in Philadelphia, said.

Dr. Fish says the line of what's acceptable is constantly moving, not only in sports, but in business, education, and other aspects of life.

"My experience is the extreme behavior we see in the video doesn't work. It doesn't work to build toughness. It doesn't necessarily work to get someone to be the best they can be," Fish said.

Dr. Fish says coaches can get a blind spot in the lens of their profession and simply not realize the severity of their behavior.

It may have been the case for Coach Rice and former Holy Family head basketball coach John O'Connor, who was forced to resign two years ago after getting into an altercation with player Matt Kravchuck.

It too was caught on camera.

Attorney Jack Cohen was hired by Kravchuck after the player's complaints to the university were allegedly ignored.

"The university tries to hide, but once they see that the public sees what's going on they are forced to act," Cohen said.

O'Connor is now an assistant at Lafayette College.

He was out of coaching for awhile, a fate Mike Rice will likely face.

"I think Coach Rice will eventually get back into coaching, but it's not going to be at the level he's at now," Cohen said.

While some players do say Coach Rice motivated them in the classroom, on the basketball court, and in everyday life, the prevailing opinion is that the ends do not justify the means.