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Does Ed Need To “Cool"ey It?

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Ed Cooley has probably forgotten more about basketball than most of us will ever know. And he’ll probably make as much money this year as most of us will make in our lifetimes. But that doesn’t mean that everything Ed Cooley does is the right thing.

Case in point was his post game press conference performance following his team’s upset loss to the Brown Bears. Cooley, obviously very unhappy with his team’s performance and the outcome of the game, had some surprising things to say about his team.

Ed Cooley

When this reporter tried to ask a question about LaDontae Henton’s offensive performance, Cooley went on a diatribe about how bad Henton’s defense was.

Let me start by saying that I have covered sports long enough to know how coaches are feeling after a game. Knowing how upset Cooley was with the loss, I tried to preface my comments by saying, “obviously, it’s tough after a loss, but can you talk about what a great offensive performance that was for LaDontae Henton? He scored 24 straight points for your team in the second half.”

That question was abruptly interrupted by Cooley who said, “LaDontae’s performance stunk. His defense was awful. He couldn’t defend an ant!”

Cooley continued to rail on Henton much to the surprise of those gathered in the room. More than a few eyebrows were raised as he hammered the player who single-handedly kept his team in the game with an offensive performance for the ages.

Was I upset that Cooley abruptly stopped my line of questioning to give his opinion? Absolutely not. I’m a big boy and I completely understand his frustration after a game like that. However, I have to admit that I felt bad for Henton whom I felt did not deserve such public criticism.

Cooley also was asked about not having Bryce Cotton available for the game to which he responded, "He said it was too sore to play. Right now I have a fragile team, a very soft group. We better grow up real quick."

Those statements may be true. But my advice for Cooley would be to keep those comments for the postgame locker room or for practice the following day.

This isn’t the only example of Cooley taking shots publicly at his kids. Following Kris Dunn’s first collegiate game against Colgate, when asked about his performance (PC rookie record 13 assists), he called Dunn’s offensive performance “gross.”

Don’t get me wrong. We members of the media appreciate such juicy comments. It makes our jobs easy. It sells newspapers and draws eyeballs to this website. But it does not reflect positively on the great man and great coach that Ed Cooley is. He’s better than that.

I don’t want this to sound too critical of Cooley because I truly respect the heck out of the man both personally and professionally. And there’s nobody I would rather see coaching the Friars than that man. But there’s a fine line between trying to motivate your players and being overly critical.

The mother of one of the players was very upset with his postgame comments. That is not a good thing.

In all of my years covering sports, I would say that nobody despised losing more than former Brown coach Glenn Miller. However, as upset as Miller could be with his team following a loss, he would leave that in the locker room and then somehow come out and calmly address the media. That is something Cooley needs to do.

A better way to handle the question about Henton Friday night would have been so say something like this. “LaDonte had a great offensive game. But defensively our team was horrible! Obviously I need to emphasize it more in practice right now because we are not a good team defensively.  We stink!”

A comment like that would have sent the same type of message and, at the same time, showed that he and his staff are taking ownership of the problem as well. It would have been Belichickian, so-to-speak.

Not that I want Cooley’s press conferences to be as painstakingly boring as Bill Belichik’s. Cooley’s press conferences are very entertaining because he such a charismatic individual. In fact, it is that charisma which helps him recruit many of the nation’s best players to PC. I don’t want that charisma to go away. I want him to be funny. I want him to be entertaining. But I also want him to be the Friars head coach for a long time and publicly chastising his players after games isn’t necessarily the way to assure that type of longevity.



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