Golf and coaching football go together like peas and carrots, as Forrest Gump would say.
Steve Spurrier enjoyed a round of golf perhaps more than any college head coach in recent memory, and even Nick Saban hits the course annually for Pro-Am events. Coaches have been enjoying nine or eighteen holes in the sun for ages, and with the stressful, hectic schedule that coaches juggle year round, it makes sense that getting out on the course is a mini-vacation of sorts for a lot of guys.
Well, according to an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the very first question that new Georgia Tech basketball coach Josh Pastner (who spent the past eight seasons leading the program at Memphis) is going to ask any potential assistants during the interview process is: Do you golf?
“My first question to anyone I [might] hire is, ‘Do you golf?'”
“If they say, ‘Yes,’ you can’t work for me, because that means five hours on a Sunday or on a Saturday. Can’t. Don’t want it. That’s for my assistant coaches. Any of my assistant coaches, if they’re golfers, not working for me.”
Pastner later clarified to CBS that he loves golf, but wants to surrounds himself with assistants that understand the time commitment it’s going to take to turn around the Georgia Tech program in the rough-and-tumble ACC, where premier basketball programs like North Carolina and Duke have been in the national spotlight for years, while programs like Virginia and Miami are on the rapid rise.
“It’s not as much is that it’s golf. It’s that, if you’re going to be here, you’re going to have to work like crazy. We’re rebuilding. It’s going to be a seven-day-a-week job.”
Sure, some coaches can handle a round of golf a week on top of what they’re being asked to do as a coach, but Pastner tells the AJC that’s simply not in the cards for him, and it won’t be happening for his staff either.
“I know there are going to be some fund-raising (golf events) you’ve got to drive around, but I couldn’t handle five hours. I couldn’t handle it and I wouldn’t want my staff to do it, either.”
Speaking from the perspective of football and basketball coaches in particular, the time commitment required when you tack on recruiting and player development to the in-season responsibilities of scouting, practice, and preparation is a lot to deal with. Then you add family responsibilities and raising your own kids in with that and you’re getting stretched awful thin. The profession is full of high profile coaches like Urban Meyer and Mark Dantonio who struggled through serious health issues before realizing the importance of finding that work-family-personal life balance.
I get where coach Pastner is coming from, but if having a group of hungry, dedicated, enthusiastic coaches around the office, and at practice means they golf a few hours a week…by all means let them. The alternative is just asking for health issues, and empty passion buckets.