Daily Herald's 2017 Season Coverage
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updated: 1/10/2013 10:37 PM

You'll see all types in coaching

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What does demeanor really mean when it comes to coaching?

Mike Ditka continues to be revered by some because of his sideline ranting and raving, combined with a legendary defense, for a Bears team which capped one of the best seasons in NFL history with a dominant Super Bowl victory.

Lovie Smith will likely be reviled by others because of a reserved nature coupled with an inability to find an offensive coordinator who could lead the Bears to more than just one lost Super Bowl trip.

No matter what the level, not everyone can remain at the same level when it comes to their sideline demeanor. Some coaches can remain stoic and stone-faced in almost any situation. Others are pacing and hollering from the moment they wake up until they go back to sleep.

You see all types at the high school level in all sports. Cross country coaches who seem to be running the race along with their teams, badminton coaches who don't treat their sport as any kind of picnic or basketball coaches who may rarely get up out of their seat.

But the way a coach acts is not a barometer of how much they care or don't care about what's happening. What one sees on gameday isn't necessarily a reflection of what players get every day.

Many years ago, when Tony Kees was coaching soccer at Conant, he basically sat on the bench and observed what was going on for almost the entire game. Kees was one of the most successful high school coaches in a sport where some of his peers could wear out spots in the finest artificial turf or be heard loud and clear across the field up in the press box.

Kees believed he did everything he could to make sure in practice his team was ready and when it was game-time it was basically his players' time. But that's also not every coach's personality.

Some coaches have the ability to find humor even in the toughest times. Many years ago, the late Glen Elms, who had plenty of success as a boys basketball coach at Forest View and Prospect, yelled out to one of his players as he was fumbling the ball out of bounds, "It's the orange thing!"

So what does a coach's demeanor mean?

It meant Mike Ditka and Lovie Smith not only reached their sport's ultimate game but they also ended up getting pink-slipped as well. It doesn't necessarily mean much when it comes to success or failure.

Jabari Parker's media frenzy:

It was interesting to see some of the reaction about Simeon basketball star Jabari Parker's highly-publicized announcement that his next stop would be Duke.

From all accounts, Parker seems to be a pretty solid and grounded kid along with being one of the best high school players in the nation. But some believed there was a loss of innocence the way Parker made his announcement in a nationally-televised news conference at Simeon.

Please. Those of us who enjoy high school sports because in most cases it's more fun than the pros or colleges realize most of the innocence and purity was lost a long time ago.

I'm not a big fan of some of the televised dog-and-pony shows that have become commonplace regarding college football and basketball commitments. But Parker's decision was big news at the high school level and it sure was easier for him and fair to all the media members who wanted to know to break it during one organized event.

Donnelly's departure at Palatine:

The profession lost one of the good guys and class acts when Palatine football coach Tyler Donnelly elected to step down this week so he could spend more time with his family and make sure he stayed in good health. Donnelly's consistent demeanor and approach went a long way toward a sustained run of success that put the program back on the state football map.

Marty Maciaszek is a freelance columnist for the Daily Herald who can be reached at

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