Years ago, when I was teaching the American survey course, I had a student who was widely touted in the Maine sports media as a likely bet to become a major league baseball player. The then head baseball coach also bragged in the media about the high academic averages of his team.
Nothing wrong with these comments, to be sure, but the star baseball player wound up never coming to my classes and, despite the excellent support system for UMaine varsity athletes, making no effort to contact me, much less to try to avoid failing the course.
I WAS contacted by the coach when he learned that I’d innocently inquired into the overall academic standing of his star player. Turned out that the young man was failing all of his courses, not just mine. The coach railed against me over the phone and hinted at legal action for my inquiry. The star player did sign a professional contract during that semester and, without reaching the majors, did have considerable success in the minors. Whether he ever received his UMaine degree I don’t know.
Contrast this coach’s behavior with that of long-time UMaine head football coach Jack Cosgrove. Coach “Cos” was recently hired by Colby to try to revitalize a losing program. UMaine’s most successful football head coach, Cosgrove was always well known as someone who cared deeply about his players, and not just their athletic records and accomplishments. If a UMaine professor wanted to contact the coach directly about a player, he or she would find a most receptive audience. No hostility and certainly no threats. Jack Cosgrove epitomizes the integrity of collegiate sports at their best.
Colby is fortunate to have hired him. GO MULES!