Basketball

Tears of a Clown

I sat on this one for a week or two, but it’s an interesting story to accompany the photos.

On his annual visit to Illinois Wesleyan, Augustana basketball coach Grey Giovanine was his usual volatile self, whining for every call. But he sunk to a new low this year. A little verbal jockeying towards IWU’s Victor Davis early in the game was met with a response by the player. In short, Grey muttered something like “let him shoot, we want him to take that shot.” After Davis drained the 3-pointer, he returned the salvo with something like “that’s for you Coach G.”

I don’t know the history between these two, whether Giovanine recruited Davis in high school, or if there have been other situations in the past. Suffice it to say, however, Giovanine’s antics are certainly not out of character.

What is disappointing, though, is that he refused to shake Davis’ hand after the game, a tight CCIW contest that ended with the Titans winning 63-60. I didn’t witness the phantom hand extension until watching video a couple days later, but I definitely saw a heated discussion between Giovanine and IWU assistant Dave Feeney.

Always the informed ones, I have been watching the D3Boards.com CCIW bulletin board. A smattering of comments about the incident (I’m not listing names as they are all aliases anyway, but all the posts still appear on the site):

I know this has been mentioned before, but I can’t come up with any excuses for Augie’s coach. His antics while the opposing team is shooting a free throw is weak. He’s not a fan, that I get, he’s the head coach, he should act like it. Last nite he went a little farther. With Victor Davis getting set to shoot a three, coach g, yells out, let him have it, we want that. That might be a good game plan, I don’t know, but Victor drains the shot, turns to g and says something. Then g explodes, yells at the refs, complaining that Victor said something to him. I don’t think a coach should ever say anything to a player on the other team, but if you chose to, don’t complain when you get something back. In the post-game line, Victor tried to shake g’s hand, but g didn’t extend his. He may or may not be a good coach, depending on what you think a good coach is, but I know what he isn’t……under control

Heard about this little situation earlier today. Heard Coach G yelled (right as Victor was about to shoot), “Let him have it, it’s the shot we want him taking!” Then Victor made the 3, turned and said, “That’s for you, Coach G.” Ron Rose made Victor try to apologize after the game but Coach G wouldn’t shake his hand. Victor probably shouldn’t have said anything back to him…but I’m really glad he did (because it was Coach G). Pretty funny. Victor 3-3 from 3-point range last night. Love Coach G’s whiney little reaction afterwards, looking for an official to complain to because mean Victor Davis yelled at him.

But refusing to shake Davis’s hand after the game? Seriously unclassy.

All valid and fair points. But it’s Coach G, and it’s just one more Coach G thing to put on his already overflowing resume of buffoonery. I don’t think he’s gonna get a ton of benefit of the doubt on most borderline things from the average CCIW fan anymore. And think about…seriously…in all of the games you have watched, how many times has a head coach, while 10 feet from an opposing player, actually yelled out something like that? I can’t think of a single time. I mean, we’ve all heard “shooter” and things like that…but has anyone actually heard, “He stinks, let him shoot!”? And after two days of practice, and telling his guys to let Victor Davis shoot from 3, are we to believe he really needed to remind them again in that instant Victor had the ball in his hands and was about to shoot? I don’t know…it’s just weird. And yes, regardless of personal opinion on the above, the bottom line is he wouldn’t shake Victor’s hand afterwards. Just bizarre really.

What I get from the “Stomper”-Davis exchange:

Davis definitely says something to G.

G immediately pleads to the ref for some “relief” from Davis” grievous indiscretion. Poor G. WA WA.

I think G got what he asked for.

Is there a rule a player can’t say something to a coach?

I think all, or almost all, of us–even those of us who usually disagree–think G got just what he had coming. Most of the time you want to beat the team you play, just because they’re the opposition. But when you play Augie, you want to beat G more than you want to beat Augie itself.

Why would a coach let an opposing player (and then, by not shaking his hand after the game) the entire league know it is easy to get into his head? Basically, the dude acts like a clown and if he gets treated as such, that’s his fault.

I don’t think it’s bizarre. I think it’s disgraceful. No matter what he says or does during the game, after the game is supposed to be another matter entirely. Heck, hockey players will get into fistfights during the game and then shake hands at center ice after it’s over, because that’s what you’re supposed to do. It’s not simply etiquette or good sportsmanship, it’s also a sign that you have things in proper perspective; i.e., you recognize that sports is the toy department of life. There are a lot of other things in this world that are much more important than winning and losing basketball games, and character is pretty close to the top of that list. And when you’re the head coach, and therefore the leader and role model of your young men, and you refuse to shake hands with an opposing player, you’re setting a horrible example of how an adult male is supposed to behave. Here, here with that one. As a college coach you are supposed to be the leaders of the young men and get them ready for life. To not do that as a head coach is disgusting in my opinion. They game is over, let what happened in the boundaries of the court during the game stay there. I mean, what kind of message does that send to the players? Just disgusting.

Can there be any doubt that The Stomper is the CCIW coach that inspires the most “love” across the board? No other coach could come close to generating anywhere near as much discussion. USee is right about G’s lack of sportsmanship in not shaking Victor’s hand after the game. But, what I loved was the camera clearly showing G immediately pleading for a T or some other form of relief for Victor having the audacity to answer G’s statement with one of his own. Its like “I’m GG, he can’t say anything to me.”

Is blowing kisses ok? Let’s face it; the guy’s a loudmouth. I don’t really understand why it’s ok for him act like a clown, but the players are supposed to maintain their composure.

I think we can all agree Coach G is a good coach, who is also a real jerk in his courtside demeanor in the great tradition of Bob Knight and Gene Keady. He does embarass himself and to a certain extent the program at some point every year. Not shaking hands with Victor is inexcusable for the supposed adult in the room. All I can say is I am unapologetic in my loyalty to the players that represent Augie, as I have not seen any of them demonstrate bad sportmanship, and despite Coach G’s spoiled child behavior, there is no other program in the once proud Augie athletic department that comes close to the success of the MBB team since G arrived in Rock Island.

From my perspective, I enjoy watching his antics. Not shaking an opponent’s hand is a bit childish, but not unexpected. Someone earlier summed it up nicely…the guy is a clown.

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