Last Spring when the University of Oregon fired Bev Smith as head basketball coach, readers here commented that they were not surprised, as it had been alleged for years that the native Canadian was a racist. I hadn’t heard this, so I was surprised.
I asked my former junior high school teacher about it. I’ve known Jane for 30 years, and she’s an amazing person, teacher and an upstanding and intelligent person. She’s also been a U of O season ticket holder for the last decade. So if anyone would know what’s the drillio, it would be her.
Jane asked around, and she thought about it for a long time. So long, in fact, that we just finally discussed it this past weekend. She said she’d ascertained that Smith wasn’t a racist, but that her actions could easily be interpreted as such.
Some of the players who have come to the U of O over the years cut their teeth on pickup ball. Learned and played the game in their neighborhoods from friends, siblings, cousins, etc. Jane said that Mac Court crowds LOVED players like that, and would stand up and make noise when they did their thing. But Smith, she explained, was from the school of regimented play, where ballers just straight-out played the game, sans flair. She didn’t want the Ducks to do anything but play the game.
“Instead of accommodating individual styles, she wanted all the players to fit a certain mold,” Jane said. “She just wanted them to play regimented, white girl ball.”
So that’s Jane’s take on it. I wonder what others think.
Are there coaches out there like that? How should coaches coach the game?