Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Coaching with integrity

On occasion I follow my local hometown newspaper, the sacramento bee, to see how some of the local HS sports teams are doing. Over the past few years Sacramento HS, which is considered an "inner city" school has had a coach named Derek Swafford, whom I've read articles on over the past few years. He took this school from shambles and made them into state contenders every year.

He started with setting ground rules and following them to a "T". There was one season where they were deep in the state playoffs and he benched their star player for missing a class. They lost a close game in which if their star player was playing, he could have been the X-factor in winning. The coach didn't waver in his decision and basically stated that they have other players on the team that could have and should have stepped up.

Well, he's at it again. I read this article in the bee and here is the short summary of what he did. Now, it's only early in the season for their team, so it's not the same as a playoff game, but it's so refreshing to see a coach actually stick to his rules.

Sac High suspends 10 players.

Sacramento High School boys basketball coach Derek Swafford confirmed that 10 players were suspended for Thursday's nonleague game at Fairfield for violating team and school rules.

"They did something stupid over the (Christmas) break that I didn't approve of," Swafford said. "It's a one-game deal. We've dealt with it and moved on."

Swafford brought three players up from the junior varsity to join the five remaining varsity players for the Fairfield game, which the No. 3 Dragons lost 74-53 to fall to 9-5. He said the suspended players will be reinstated for tonight's Metro Conference opener at Grant and will play against Skyline of Oakland in Saturday's Father Kelly Tribute at Jesuit.

Neither Swafford nor Sac High athletic director Justin Gatling would say what rules the players violated. But Gatling said those involved also were suspended from school Tuesday.

Gatling said the 10 players also were suspended for last Saturday's game at Reno High School, but that inclement weather also factored into the decision to forfeit the noon contest.

Some people have criticized him for being too harsh on these kids. They say his rules are way over the top compared to most other schools. I beg to differ. In this generation of "me-first", it's about time someone step up say that you will be rewarded for how hard you work and for the effort you put in and not rewarded for being an idiot.

I would like to hope that as a Head Coach of a program, I would act with the same integrity of this guy. I've always read nothing but good things about him. He's a great educator and from what I hear, a great coach.

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