NEW CASTLE — “You like me, you really like me.” — Actress Sally Field, during her Oscar acceptance speech in 1985
Rewind to Brad Stevens, 2011.
Led tiny Butler to the NCAA final game for a second straight year. Asked to speak at clinics everywhere. On top of the world.
So was Sean Miller. Led Arizona back to national prominence with an appearance in the Elite Eight. Courted by Maryland and turned down millions to coach the Terrapins. Fans in the desert were ecstatic when he chose to stay home to lead the Wildcats for the next decade.
Fast-forward to 2012.
Stevens and Butler are heading to the NIT.
Arizona and Miller might be tagging along.
With every loss this season, their approval rating has dropped more than anyone not named “Bobby Brown” or “Kardashian.”
They are who they are. And they will continue to coach the only way they know how.
With passion. Commitment. Energy. And concern for their players.
Despite what you think.
Despite how many “friends” like their Facebook pages.
Despite how many people follow them on Twitter.
We would all be wise to heed their example.
You know, I love ESPN. It’s sort of the National Enquirer for sports fans.
And sometimes I really, really hate ESPN. Because, you know, it’s sort of the National Enquirer for sports fans.
When it isn’t airing live events — which is about 20 hours a day during the week — the network’s time slots are filled with sarcastic guys in suits questioning coaches and players.
That is, when they aren’t showing the Top 10 dunks of the day. (Sarcasm intended).
Here are just a couple of “hot topics” discussed by the experts over the past few days ...
•Should LeBron start taking the last shot in games because people want him to? Or should he continue to make the right basketball play?
•Is (fill in the blank’s) status falling, even though there’s still nearly two months left until the NFL Draft?
•Who are the last four in and the first four out of the NCAA Tournament?
So you’re telling me if I’m a college coach I should hope that a talking head in Bristol — who’s never seen my team play in person, by the way — is now calling us overrated because we’ve lost five games? Even though he placed us in the preseason Top 10 because he thought it would be chic to go so far out on a limb?
Really? I want THAT guy to say good things about me?
Yep, pretty much. It’s called human approval.