Randy Smith: Can Coaches Really Go Too Far?

Thursday, February 27, 2014
Randy Smith
Randy Smith

Coach Jim Boeheim of Syracuse said earlier this week, “There’s no question I went too far. In my mind, the game was over. That was really the call that got to me.” Boeheim’s comments came on ESPN Radio’s “The Herd” on Wednesday after he was hit with a pair of technical fouls and was ejected from the fourth-ranked Orange’s game with Duke on Saturday.

I’m sure you’ve seen the video of Coach Boeheims’ explosion near the end of the game following a charging call against his team. He ran out on the floor pulling his navy sport coat up over his neck, as if in a futile attempt to run and discard the coat at the same time. More than 30 years as a head coach and more than 900 wins and Coach Boeheim still has that burning competitive fire inside. Yet, even he knows you’re not going to get many calls to go your way at Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke.

Jim Boeheim isn’t the first coach to ever “lose it” during a game and he surely won’t be the last. He is also not the first head coach to ever come out of his coat (or try to come out of it.) The first coach I ever saw shed his sport coat was Cal Luther at Murray State University in the 1970s. The officials calling a Murray State game would know how long their night would be in dealing with Coach Luther by how early he ripped his jacket off in disgust. Other coaches have tried to shed a coat like Cal Luther, but none have ever done it better or more smoothly than he did.

Of course, the all-time greatest coach’s rant has to be Indiana’s Bobby Knight who once got so angry at the officials he threw a chair across the floor after being ejected from the game.  That’s not the only world-famous Bobby Knight rant but it is perhaps the most famous. Coach Knight was known for his profanity-laced post-game press conferences as much as for his on the floor antics.

The late Norm Sloan, who once coached North Carolina State to an NCAA Championship, was notorious for his verbal abuse of officials. During the early part of his career, he became so incensed at one particular referee he challenged him to a fist fight. The man in stripes agreed and even ended the game early, so they could go to the locker room area, where they fought each other in the showers.  I got to know Coach Sloan in his later years and worked many television broadcasts with him. He was always cordial and nice to me, but he did have a quick trigger, especially to officials.

 My all-time favorite line from a head coach to an official came from former Georgia Coach Hugh Durham. It seems that an official had made several calls in a game that Coach Durham did not agree with. As the official stood on the floor during a time out, Coach Hugh approached him and asked this question; “Can you tee me up for what I’m thinking?

The official replied, “No, coach, I can’t give you a technical foul for what you’re thinking. I really can’t tell what you’re thinking.”

Coach Durham told him, “Good…… then I think you’re a real *&%#@^+.” 


Randy Smith has been covering sports on radio, television and print for the past 45 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has written two books, and has continued to free-lance as a play-by-play announcer. He is currently teaching Broadcasting at Coahulla Creek High School near Dalton, Ga.

His career has included a 17-year stretch as host of the Kickoff Call In Show on the University of Tennessee’s prestigious Vol Network. He has been a member of the Vol Network staff for thirty years.

He has done play-by-play on ESPN, ESPN II, CSS, and Fox SportSouth, totaling more than 500 games, and served as a well-known sports anchor on Chattanooga Television for more than a quarter-century.

In 2003, he became the first television broadcaster to be inducted into the Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame. Randy and his wife Shelia reside in Hixson. They have two married children, (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith.) They have three grandchildren, Coleman, Boone and DellaMae.

To contact Randy: rsmithsports@epbfi.com

PHOTOS: UConn Bests Chattanooga By 79-31

Lee Women Hold On To Beat Bryan 75-70

The Lee women's basketball team watched a 14-point lead slip away in the final period but managed to hold on down the stretch for a 75-70 victory over the visiting Bryan College Lady Lions on Monday evening. With just over five minutes remaining, the Lady Flames held what looked like a commanding 64-50 margin but the battling Lady Lions trimmed the lead to only one point with ... (click for more)

Larry Schumacher Named Chief Executive Officer Of CHI Memorial

T he board of directors of CHI Memorial and Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) have chosen Larry Schumacher as the chief executive officer (CEO) of CHI Memorial effective Jan. 4, 2016 . Mr. Schumacher comes to CHI Memorial from Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) based in Springfield, Illinois where he served as system chief operating officer for the past eight years.  ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Under Flood Watch Through Wednesday

With a steady rain set to continue through Wednesday, Chattanooga is under a flood watch. Over four inches of rain are expected in some areas. Here is the advisory from the National Weather Service: ...LOCALIZED FLOODING POSSIBLE ACROSS EAST TENNESSEE AND SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING... .THE COMBINATION OF DEEP SUBTROPICAL MOISTURE AND A SLOW MOVING FRONTAL ... (click for more)

Why Are We Allowing Poor Architecture And Urban Design Downtown?

   Over the past four decades our fair city has enjoyed striking improvements to our City Center and Northshore areas in large part due to citizen input and the guidance of the former Urban Design Studio. We are now widely recognized as a hotbed of entrepreneurship, neighborhood revitalization and good Urban Design. At the most recent City Council meeting, the leader and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden In December

As the fallen leaves confirm today is the first of December, my monthly walk in life’s garden is more foggy than fun. In much-older times, good children would get a piece of candy on Christmas Day while bad ones would receive a lump of coal. So here are some things that deserve a helping of both: A PIECE OF CANDY to the amazingly few who can spy a nest of mistletoe high in area ... (click for more)