FanDuel - WFBC

October 06, 2006

Coach Sets High School Bad Sportsmanship Record: When Matewan [W.V.] High School running back Paul McCoy had more than 300 yards at halftime in a Sept. 29 game, he thought Coach Yogi Kinder would sit him for the second half. Instead, Kinder went no-huddle, the team stopped fielding punts so they'd have more potential yardage to gain, and McCoy broke the national record with 658 yards.

posted by rcade to football at 05:28 AM - 48 comments

At 5 feet 8 and about 160 pounds, McCoy could squat 500 pounds and bench 350. He had given up his dreams of playing running back in college and signed up to be a cornerback at summer football camps, hoping college recruiters would notice him at that position. They still said he was too small. Maybe, Kinder thought, a national record would change their minds.
Sounds a lot like what Coach Stalnaker did for Danny Heater. Only with the PC crowd shrieking about sportsmanship. Remarkable difference a few decades can make.

posted by geekyguy at 06:16 AM on October 06

What was the final score? I guess my view on this is that if the game was close, just because 1 player has 300+ yards doesn't mean to pull him. I mean, you don't pull Jordan just because he has 30 or 40 points at the half. Plus, it is moves like that which should motivate the other team to step it up. I think the following story is the lowest of all sportsmanship: In 1996, the Magic were in the process of blowing out Detroit, 113-91, when guard Anthony Bowie was one assist shy of a triple-double. But Orlando called a timeout with 1.4 seconds left so that it could set up one more play. Detroit's coach at the time, Doug Collins, ordered his team not to guard the play at all so that Bowie could get his gift assist and phony triple. When Bowie tapped the ball to a teammate, who then scored, there were three-tenths of a second left. But a disgusted Collins and his team were already walking off the floor, opting not to extend the charade any further. But it was Collins that got fined $5,000 for "unsportsmanlike conduct."

posted by warstda at 06:51 AM on October 06

The story says 64-0. He scored 10 TDs. Was it over the top and ridiculous? Of course. Am I surprised? Not in the least. Most records of this type are set during lopsided contests, and this record will give the next glory-seeking coach something to strive for (probably within a few weeks).

posted by dyams at 07:03 AM on October 06

ordered his team not to guard the play at all so that Bowie could get his gift assist and phony triple. Not to derail the thread with a basketball question, but isn't getting an assist something of a subjective call on the part of the official scorer? Seems to me that scorer could have decided not to award the assist to Bowie. Let's not even talk about Brett Favre running into the waiting arms of Michael Strahan.

posted by psmealey at 07:35 AM on October 06

the coach should have forfeited the game 1 play before he got the record. As a player, I think I would have taken a few knee shots as well and not felt the least bit guilty about it (assuming they were even close enough to the RB to take knee shots :-) Lets see him enjoy that record with an ACL/MCL tear...he can tell his kids that was how he got his limp. my highschool was on the losing side one time of a game like this (71-0) and there ended up being a huge brawl in which coaches and players were beating each other. This isn't good for anybody and he's lucky it ended with only some hurt pride.

posted by bdaddy at 08:27 AM on October 06

I don't agree with Kinder's handling of the situation, but after reading the article, I can understand it now. As a high school coach, one of your prime directives is to try and get your athletes scholarships. This kid has apparently busted his tail for four years, and Kinder thought this might be the only way to get him a shot at a ride somewhere. I'm not sure the financial status of the family (it said they owned a BBQ place, but that's not any guarantee of wealth), but a scholarship may be the only way McCoy gets into college. Also, this quote from the opposing coach really bothers me: "He is a guy I always respected," Hunt said. "I never thought he would make me feel like this." Pal, no one is making you feel like that except you. You want to put your head down and cry about it, that's your business. Having been on the end of a similar 64-0 beating myself, we used it as motivation to work toward beating that team the next season, not to bitch about how horrible it was getting smoked and what bad people those Belleville Althoff people were. The Burch program hasn't scored against Matewan in seven seasons -- is there any indication the score wouldn't have been exactly close to the same if McCoy had sat the bench in the second half? And why the hell is it McCoy's fault that you suck? He should sit because you can't play the game? You don't want an asskicking? Work harder and get better. I wouldn't have taken the measures Kinder did to try and get the record -- it was classless and I don't blame Burch for not shaking hands. But I wouldn't have pulled McCoy, either. Oh -- and that's one of the most one-sided, piss-poor articles I've ever read in the Post.

posted by wfrazerjr at 08:41 AM on October 06

They should have taken a page from Super Tecmo Bowl... He could have run out of bounds at the other team's one yard line, then his QB could run all the back to his own one yard line. I bet he could have gone over 1,000 yards and they may not have run up the score.

posted by SummersEve at 08:45 AM on October 06

Lets see him enjoy that record with an ACL/MCL tear... Yeah -- let's respond to an act of horrible sportsmanship with something even worse.

posted by rcade at 08:45 AM on October 06

Kinder wanted to rally his team and all work together for a special record for his team captain. Matewan had a great time and played hard and set the record. Not returning punts is a little tacky, but Hunt should pull himself together and teach his guys how to stop ONE player. There seems to be a common theme these days - the opposing team does something that a coach/parent thinks is unsportsmanlike, and the coach/parent decides to be unsportsmanlike and then whine and carry on about class and respect.

posted by bperk at 08:56 AM on October 06

forget the sportsmanship issue for a moment. isn't the job of a coach to promote a team first attitude rather than putting one player on a pedestal? even if the kid deserves some glory because of his amazing work ethic and attitude -- in fact, BECAUSE of that -- it sends a completely wrongheaded message to your players -- that it's all about individual records and recognition. it was no longer about winning. it was no longer about giving kids on the bench some playing time -- which might be useful if at some point in the future. it all focused on one guy in a team game. if it was tennis -- all bets are off -- go for as many aces as you can get. but come on, that was lame. sure, all the kids were probably psyched that their buddy broke the record but years later they'll know they took advantage of easy prey. forget sportsmanship -- what a hollow friggin' achievement. the only attention it will bring this kid is negative attention. and don't tell me it helps put smaller schools on the map. it only reflects badly on them.

posted by bluesdog at 10:12 AM on October 06

I understand the desire of the coach to get this kid some attention and a shot at a scholarship, but I find it hard to believe that no colleges wanted him before this. He'd already had a 500+ yard game this season. Is he a little small? Sure. Barry Sanders was 5'8" and around 200#, and he did OK. This kid gained more than 300 yards AFTER the defense knew that nobody else was going to get the ball under any circumstances. When a defense can play 11 men in the box, and the back still goes over 300 yards in a half, there's something special there. Not one major college thinks that their weight training program has a good chance of adding 30 or 40# to this kid? Nobody? Seriously? From the photo, his arms look ripped, but wiry, and even his legs aren't exactly tree stumps. He could easily use some size on the upper body without any danger of becoming too bulky, and no matter how good his high school program is, any major college system will be better equipped to do the necessary body shaping. I can't help wondering if there isn't something else holding him back that we weren't made aware of.

posted by ctal1999 at 10:21 AM on October 06

I can't help wondering if there isn't something else holding him back that we weren't made aware of. Maybe he is slow. sure, all the kids were probably psyched that their buddy broke the record but years later they'll know they took advantage of easy prey. forget sportsmanship -- what a hollow friggin' achievement. What makes it hollow? He still had to run over the other team even though they knew he was going to be running. They still couldn't stop him.

posted by bperk at 10:41 AM on October 06

This is what records are, and why statistical analysis will never fully comprehend the game. Besides, bperk is right - send out 6 linemen and 5 linebackers and put 11 in the box. In my mind crying foul about people who run the score up is more offensive to notions of honor and sportsmanship than someone who refuses to play at anything other than 100%, even if the situation warrants it.

posted by chmurray at 11:08 AM on October 06

That's pretty shameful. All around. Since when is it so damn important to show up another team in pursuit of a record rendered meaningless by the very nature of its happenstance? Three other things: 1 - There are terrible coaches teaching our kids out there. 2 - Some of us chose to blame the other team and other coach. Or the league for letting the two schools in the same division. Ridiculous. 3 - The culture of high school football is shown to be nothing short of a complete cesspool of moral indifference and relativity when examples like this crop up. Folks, it's called having class - and it will serve people a lot more in life than some pathetic high school football record/glory re-told in a bar twenty years from now. (bdaddy - you're a little sick.)

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 11:16 AM on October 06

You can keep running your offense if there is allot of time left. The coach had a half of football where he should have played players who dont get the chance too play much in a game like that.

posted by SharpShooter at 11:26 AM on October 06

Declining to return punts really crosses the line. Totally indefensible. It's one thing to say that both teams should play their best and if one team gets whomped then so be it -- but when one team is purposefully making bad plays just so they can gain more yardage later at the other team's expense? Marc Fisher's blog discusses this story with some good points on either side, criticizing both the "insane lust for records" and the idiocy of "mercy rules".

posted by Venicemenace at 11:43 AM on October 06

What makes it hollow? He still had to run over the other team even though they knew he was going to be running. They still couldn't stop him. Because it was like shooting ducks in a barrel. The kid himself thought he'd be watching from the sidelines after halftime. So the score was obviously lopsided at that point. Even if he played the third quarter to insure the victory, fine. But not returning punts to help him get more yardage? The coach did that because he knew it was a cakewalk. And it proves that coaching all aspects of the game became unimportant to him. He made a choice to stop coaching the way the game should be played and to start a public campaign for one player in the middle of an official game. His ass should be fired. If I was the opposing coach I would have repeatedly gone for it on 4th down even in his own team's territory. Besides, if they were down by that much they shouldn't bother punting anyway.

posted by bluesdog at 11:57 AM on October 06

the team stopped fielding punts so they'd have more potential yardage to gain I see this as the biggest problem in the story (not in the thread -- that goes to bdaddy... two words: psychotherapy). If the coach played the game straight up all the way through and kept his best rusher in the game I have no problem with that, even in a blow out. It's not like he was letting his QB air out 80 yard bombs when the score is 40-0 -- a ground game is the right call in a blow out anyway. But creating artificial conditions to allow for the record to be broken completely destroys the integrity of the game and the credibility of the record. As a coach you have to show more respect than that for the game and your opponent. That said, if you are falling for the sympathy-generator being run by the poor victimized coach and players of Burch High School, you are part of a different problem. One, nobody died. It's not reported that anyone even got hurt, or was in danger of being hurt. It was a game. Get over it. Two, if you participate in a sport you run the risk of being humiliated on the field of play. That's part and parcel of the activity. As has been stated many times here and elsewhere, you can quit or you can work to get better. And when you've made that decision, be prepared to be judged on it. On preview: what pretty much everyone else is saying.

posted by BullpenPro at 12:03 PM on October 06

Issues like this are impossible to resolve without a common context ("high school football" isn't enough, sorry) and a shared understanding of what it's all about. Several people commented in this thread about what a coach's job is, and I wouldn't necessarily disagree with any one of them...but when you answer the question of what it's all about or what a coach's job is with a two-page single-spaced bulleted list of items, you're not creating a situation where each one of those items gets equal attention and consideration. Instead, you're creating a situation where some people will pick out one or two of the items as most important to them, and run with them as far as they can, and other people will be legitimately bent out of shape because there are all these other items that are supposed to be "what it's all about" that are getting sacrificed. Moral of the story, I guess, is that talk about "what it's all about" is mostly wasted talk. You can talk about what your high school football experience was "all about" for you -- meaning why you were there -- but that says nothing about why the program is there now. Unless the other parties involved share your vision, you shouldn't expect to see it play out on a high school football field.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:09 PM on October 06

send out 6 linemen and 5 linebackers and put 11 in the box. It doesn't matter how many you send out if they all suck. We're talking some crappy little high school program, not the Carolina Panthers.

posted by dyams at 12:48 PM on October 06

i get tired of equating the score of a game to sportsmanship. I don't think running up the score is bad if the coach is putting in players that haven't had much playing time or trying different positions. This was a little over the top but I am not sure that i would call it poor sportsmanship. I think it is more embarrassing to the other team when you just tell them to play down to the opponent and not try. The kids probably do not care about the score as much as the parents and coaches. When you tell kids to not do their best that is poor coaching. If the objective is to score and when you tell kids to stop playing to score, the other coach should forfeit. I fail to see why the opposing coach didn't forfeit if he felt that his team was getting mistreated.

posted by heavy-d at 01:22 PM on October 06

It doesn't matter how many you send out if they all suck. We're talking some crappy little high school program, not the Carolina Panthers. exactly...that's the point everyone is missing. This was, talent-wise, like having the Carolina Panthers playing some Division 2 school. I bet the kid wasn't even touched on 3/4 of his carries. In games I've witnessed like this in high school (that 71-0 for example) it was us, with our d-line averaging 5-10, 180 lbs playing against a team who's o-line averages were more like 6-3, 260. They would CRUSH the guy in front of them and knock him into LBs and secondary....on some plays there was nobody even STANDING to make the tackle. There is nothing heroic about that sort of achievement. Your bigger, stronger, faster guys beat their smaller, weaker, slower players.

posted by bdaddy at 01:31 PM on October 06

When you tell kids to not do their best that is poor coaching. If the objective is to score and when you tell kids to stop playing to score, the other coach should forfeit. I couldn't disagree more. In fact, I think this myopic idea of what "best" means and what "the objective" of the game is couldn't be farther from the ideal meaning of those words and the inherent majesty and reasoning behind why we play sports and why sports have value in the first place. Big picture, baby - think big picture.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:41 PM on October 06

i get tired of equating the score of a game to sportsmanship. I don't think running up the score is bad if the coach is putting in players that haven't had much playing time or trying different positions. This was a little over the top but I am not sure that i would call it poor sportsmanship. I think it is more embarrassing to the other team when you just tell them to play down to the opponent and not try you missed the whole point. We're not talking about a coach who put in his 4th string and they were still scoring against the other teams first...there is nothing unsportsmanlike about that at all, as you say. But we're talking about a coach who, not only left his starters in the whole game, but purposely let punts go by just to pad the stats. I wouldn't advise "playing down" to the competition either (that just leads to injuries if you aren't playing hard), but the easiest way to fix this is to play your backups. As a coach, wouldn't you think it would be better for the 4th string RB to get 100 yard rushing game so he can brag about that later in life? Or have one of your defensive lineman score a rushing touchdown that he can tell his kids about when he's older? Those things would stick with those guys more than a meaningless record for a guy who had already run for a 500 yard game earlier in the season.

posted by bdaddy at 01:42 PM on October 06

Those things would stick with those guys more than a meaningless record for a guy who had already run for a 500 yard game earlier in the season. Really? Being part of a record like that is meaningless?? Dude, regardless of the circumstances, he broke the bleepin' NATIONAL RECORD. Do you REALLY think that his teamates are going to think it sucked? I have an extremely hard time believing that his teamates won't be able to brag about being a part of that record. One of my favorite memories in HS was running XC and winning the regionals against the eventual state champ. Even though I wasn't on Varsity I was still a part of that team and damnit if I didn't enjoy the experience and still look fondly back on it. It's not necessarily about being the record holder; being a part of the experience can be quite rewarding, too.

posted by jmd82 at 02:00 PM on October 06

chmurray: In my mind crying foul about people who run the score up is more offensive to notions of honor and sportsmanship than someone who refuses to play at anything other than 100%, even if the situation warrants it.
I so agree- I've never understood the "beating your opponents like a red-headed step child is bad form". What the fuck? There's 4 quarters to be played, and if you can run up 658 yards then the other team is the one with bad sportsmanship... or just bad skills. I'll never understand why, in a rout, the winning team should let up. That, more than anything, is a sign of extreme disrespect. Imagine if the Bulls during their 72-10 season had started playing the 4th quarter of blowouts with one arm tied behind their backs. Would that be "good sportsmanship"? No, it would be incredibly insulting. I recall watching on live TV a game where Mike Cameron, when he was with the Mariners in I want to say 2002. It started off with he and Bret Boone going back to back homeruns in the 1st inning... TWICE. The game was a complete blowout early on, but Cameron had his 4th freakin' homerun by the 6th inning- 4 HR in 4 PAs. He comes up in the 7th or 8th, has a chance for history with an unheard of 5th homerun. Count is 3-0, next pitch is grooved down the middle... and Cameron takes the pitch!!! The announcers rave on and on about the 'good sportsmanship' because he didn't cream it for a 5th homerun in the middle of a blowout- Rob Neyer even wrote an article praising Cameron. Me, though, I'm screaming at the TV "You fucktard! Some idiot 3rd rate pitcher throws you a chocolate covered gift fastball on a silver platter in a 3-0 count, you murder that sumbitch!". Seriously- you want to show respect and good sportsmanship? You play your ass off for all 9 innings/4 quarters. You get up there in a 10-run laugher, and start phoning it in, that is disrespectful. If you take a full swing from the hills in the 9th inning with the game completely over, that to me shows that you respect the game and the other team. It wasn't Cameron's fault that the pitcher sucked, or threw a batting practice fastball- if anyone was showing poor sportsmanship or was giving up on the game, it was the guy who was intentionally unintentionally walking Cameron, then threw him a 3-0 gift. Kill that ball over the left field fence and collect your lone spot in history as a 5HR in one 9-inning game guy. Mike Cameron's lost his luster from his prime when he looked like he was going to be a 40/40 all-star, and I suspect years from now Mike won't be thinking "Boy, I'm sure glad I didn't swing at that 3-0 meatball and take my place in the hall of immortals".

posted by hincandenza at 02:15 PM on October 06

If I was on the losing side of this game I think I might have had to go "Albert Haynesworth" on the running back. Or at least "Romanowski" like bust his finger backwards. Hell, I'd even think about hitting him with a chair. I guess in Southern California we just have more evenly matched teams. I've never heard of anything like this before. Why would you even waste the time of driving to the game?

posted by LA-4-Life at 02:34 PM on October 06

If your definition of sportsmanship includes this coach's actions, I'd love to know what you would consider bad sportsmanship (aside from not running up the score, of course). I think a lot of the grind-them-into-the-ground talk in this discussion belongs to the same deteriorating sports culture that encourages trash talking, parents getting violent at games and in-your-face showboating that isn't about celebrating your success as much as noting somebody else's failure. This is a high school football game we're talking about, not the pros. There ought to be some room here for teaching winning athletes how to show respect for their opponents. That life lesson will end up mattering a lot more to the players in that game than how to help a star player inflate his stats.

posted by rcade at 02:41 PM on October 06

(Almost) totally off-topic: luther70, man, I don't count myself among the grammar police, but 109 comments without a single punctuation mark has got to be some kind of record. And I say that with all respect... hey, it worked for Joyce (though I had a little easier time following "Ulysses").

posted by BullpenPro at 02:45 PM on October 06

Imagine if the Bulls during their 72-10 season had started playing the 4th quarter of blowouts with one arm tied behind their backs. Would that be "good sportsmanship"? No, it would be incredibly insulting. professional athletes - high school athletes games purpose to entertain fans - games purpose to teach children about comraderie, leadership, and value of self apples - oranges never-the-less, Jordan sat on the bench in the 4th on a lot of blowout wins that season.

posted by bdaddy at 02:46 PM on October 06

I think its sort of lame, and the excuse the coaches used rings hollow to me. I don't know that much about football recruiting, but in baseball, coaches and scouts couldn't care less than about stats that you rack up. The are looking to project natural tools and ability, but realize that the competition is meaningless for the most part. Its probably similar for football. If this kid was really any good I expect that he would have already been recruited during his Junior year. Maybe the coach is a neophyte. Its not something that signals the end of Western Civilization as we know it though.

posted by sfts2 at 03:14 PM on October 06

Hal Incandenza would be the very last guy on earth I would let my kid play for. rcade and weedy nailed this one. It's not much of a record when it's run up against so weak an opponent. There's no pride in that accomplishment, and it may become an actual detriment to the kid, his coach, and the school.

posted by irunfromclones at 03:15 PM on October 06

That life lesson will end up mattering a lot more to the players in that game than how to help a star player inflate his stats. I think the same is true for the losing team. Teaching them that life is unfair, people are sometimes mean, and that the true test of character is how you behave in the face of this are all lessons that would be more beneficial than whining and making a stink about it and throwing around all this humilation talk.

posted by bperk at 03:49 PM on October 06

To me, Coach Kinder is an idiot! It sounds like this game was over early, and he really didn't have to keep pounding away. If he's truly trying to get this kid McCoy a scholarship, all he has to do is take the game film from the first few long runs, and package it into a highlight tape. What he might have accomplished, had fortune taken a nasty turn, was to end McCoy's career. Suppose McCoy had slipped or accidently taken a hit on exactly the wrong spot. Now you have wasted a promising young talent, with hopes of getting a free college education, for the sake of a few lines of agate type in an obscure almanac. Injuries in meaningless situations happen every year, and too many of them result in real damage to players and their hopes.

posted by Howard_T at 03:59 PM on October 06

Fucktard???

posted by Desert Dog at 04:05 PM on October 06

If I was the opposing coach I would have repeatedly gone for it on 4th down even in his own team's territory. Besides, if they were down by that much they shouldn't bother punting anyway. This kid gained more than 300 yards AFTER the defense knew that nobody else was going to get the ball under any circumstances. When a defense can play 11 men in the box, and the back still goes over 300 yards in a half, there's something special there. Just agreeing with these comments. I have real trouble fathoming how big the gap in ability must have been if having your entire team focusing on just one guy to the exclusion of all else cannot stop him. unless they were not focusing on the one guy. in which case their coach is being willfully stupid.

posted by juv3nal at 04:07 PM on October 06

(though I had a little easier time following "Ulysses"). You mean you actually finished it? Totally off topic.

posted by owlhouse at 04:16 PM on October 06

Hey, I don't care how you get a record. You got it. This kid still had to run, his line still had to block, and you know what, with all the other kids in the nation at running back, a record breaking performance might just be what he needed to be pushed over the top and get recognized by that one school that he wants to go to. I say good for him and good luck.

posted by kidrayter2005 at 05:30 PM on October 06

wah, wah, wah... Why don't they just quit like that other team that was 0-4 and constantly getting their brains stomped in.

posted by LA-4-Life at 06:26 PM on October 06

I loved Bonnie Prince Billy in Matewan.

posted by holden at 07:07 PM on October 06

You mean you actually finished it? Plenty of people have looked at all the words. It's the understadning that's the hard part.

posted by yerfatma at 07:12 PM on October 06

Do you REALLY think that his teamates are going to think it sucked? I have an extremely hard time believing that his teamates won't be able to brag about being a part of that record. I'm betting that the backup/3rd string running back had fantastic time sitting on the bench and handing out little cups of Gatorade to the rest of the team, and then got laid by the debating team assistant captain by telling her about his amazing bartending skills during that historic game.

posted by grum@work at 10:18 PM on October 06

bperk, do you really think it's likely that the kid is slow? He racked up 1100-1200 yards over his two best games (so far) this season. I can't imagine that a plodder is likely to make multiple 50, 60, and 70 yard runs in a single game, let alone two. I don't care how good his blocking was, if he didn't have some wheels, somebody would have caught him on most of those long runs (and since we know he had 10 TDs in the last game, I'd say they didn't catch him often).

posted by ctal1999 at 11:03 PM on October 06

luther70, man, I don't count myself among the grammar police, but 109 comments without a single punctuation mark has got to be some kind of record. For your sanity, I really hope you didn't read every single one.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 07:18 AM on October 07

They should have taken a page from Super Tecmo Bowl... He could have run out of bounds at the other team's one yard line, then his QB could run all the back to his own one yard line. I bet he could have gone over 1,000 yards and they may not have run up the score. Single funniest comment I've read here in a long time, although grum's debate team groupie comment comes close.

posted by holden at 09:56 AM on October 07

Lets see him enjoy that record with an ACL/MCL tear...he can tell his kids that was how he got his limp. Thank goodness you're joking, otherwise, you're advocating intentionally injuring a teenage boy under the auspices of a high school football game, which would make you an unconscionable asshole.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 02:10 PM on October 07

TBH, that was incredibly well said.

posted by ctal1999 at 07:06 PM on October 07

Why would you even think of something like that. It is just not right. It is like saying "I hope they hit the QB so hard he ruins his shoulder!" It is bad juju. Ususally after someone says something like that it seems to happen. Like talking about a no hitter. You just don't say something about ti.

posted by kidrayter2005 at 10:18 PM on October 07

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