Friday, May 25, 2007

PSU's new "killer" coach

I've written before about how the hyper-commercialism, and just plain hype, of big-time collegiate athletics is at odds with our universities' academic missions. How alumni pour money into athletics coffers while academics starve.

Here in Oregon, where higher education is on academic life support, the culture of intercollegiate athletics is so debased that fans refer to the OSU/UO rivalry as "The Civil War." Didn't a half million Americans give their lives in this nation's Civil War? Aren't Americans dying as I write because of a civil war in Iraq?

A football game — a war?

Now comes one Peter Reader (a great name, by the way) of Northwest Portland with a related complaint. This time it's about PSU and its new yahoo football coach, Jerry Granville.

He misses my larger point about the role of big-time sports on campus, but Peter's problem is part of the whole.

Writing in the letters section of the must-read Portland Tribune, Reader puts it to PSU for hiring Granville, known for his trademark black outfits and white cowboy hats.

Here's Reader's scorching letter, to which I say, "Amen!"

PSU’s best strategy: Find a new coach

Steve Brandon reports that “Viking coaches will be recruiting the rest of May” (PSU Football, May 11).

Here’s a suggestion: Send scouts to state and federal penitentiaries. There should be plenty of aggressive folks there who would be itching to follow Coach Jerry Glanville’s new direction for Portland State University’s football team.

For example, in the May 15 article “Viks warm up quickly to new systems,” Brandon quotes PSU safety Michael Dorsey’s admiration of Glanville’s teaching that encourages him to “hurt people … in terms of actual physical punishment. … There will be a chance for us to take a lot of kill shots. … We’re looking to take people out of games.”

Portland State University is my school. I graduated in 2005; I’m enrolled in its Senior Adult Learning Center. I want to be proud of my alma mater, its coaches and athletes, as well as its professors and students.

Coach Glanville is a disgrace to the institution. What kind of coach teaches his players to “hurt” and “kill”? What kind of coach wants to win by “taking people out of games”?

I’m not naive. I know that football has become a big moneymaker for colleges and that PSU is desperate for a winning team.

But at what cost? By turning student athletes into bloodthirsty monsters?

Coach Glanville should be teaching good sportsmanship, not cruelty. After all, isn’t the purpose of a college education to humanize people, not desensitize us?

What, I wonder, will Michael Dorsey glean from his experience at PSU? That it’s OK to hurt others?

I blame PSU’s administrators for this reprehensible situation. How could they hire such a dreadful person for their football coach? Is their silence tacit approval of his tactics? If so, they are one shameless bunch.

I, for one, would be happy to send Coach Glanville packing. I’ll even provide the hatbox.

Peter H. Reader

Northwest Portland

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