SI Vault
 
THE COACH
Gerald Holland
October 13, 1958
He is a big man—and, as executive, whip-cracking taskmaster, strategist, field general, actor, director, spellbinder and talent scout, he gets bigger and bigger with each passing season. The question is: Are the pressures of his job making him too big?
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
October 13, 1958

The Coach

He is a big man—and, as executive, whip-cracking taskmaster, strategist, field general, actor, director, spellbinder and talent scout, he gets bigger and bigger with each passing season. The question is: Are the pressures of his job making him too big?

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

That's the way it works," said Blenheim. "Everything's de-emphasized." He glanced around in distaste. "Look at this so-called office, not even a rug on the floor. The head football coach—buried away in the cellar!"

"I can't understand it," said Bob Wyczk. "I read in the paper where Carl Snavely is very happy with the de-emphasized football they have at Washington University in St. Louis."

Blenheim snorted: "Hah! I just wonder if ol' Carl is happy with the football or that car-washing business he's got on the side." He frowned. "I shouldn't say that. I just don't know." He chuckled. "Snavely! The ol' Gray Fox! Boy, there was a big-timer for you! Toughest man in the business. Great recruiter, great money raiser, great strategist," he sighed. "Lordy, I wonder how the ol' Fox is making out with the fraternities and the faculty advisers."

He suddenly jumped to his feet and began pacing up and down. After a moment, he whirled and pointed a ringer at young Bob Wyczk.

"Son," he cried, "you should have seen my setup at State!" He flung out both arms. "I had a private office four times this big. It had all wood paneling and a fireplace and a wall-to-wall rug on the floor. I had a desk, pure mahogany, that was so big I could lie down on top of it and take a nap. I had cross ventilation, boy, not that I needed it with my air conditioning, and a picture window that gave me a view of the whole campus."

He took a deep breath and rushed on:

"Down in front, parked right smack at the entrance to the building, was my Cadillac. That car was replaced every other year by an alumni committee which conducted the fund-raising just beautifully. Every student was permitted to contribute toward the Cadillac, but no boy or girl was allowed to give more than half a dollar. Now this made it possible for more of our kids to feel that they had a part in the gift to their coach. As I said in accepting the car one year, the manner of raising the fund was a lesson in practical democracy.

"Big time, boy, everything was big time. Why, I had eight full-time assistant coaches. These boys did the actual blood-and-guts work on the practice field, but they did a lot more than that. I hand-picked those lads. I could send any one of them out to scout a game, make a speech, sweettalk the parents of a likely prospect, narrate a movie film of a game or dance with the wife of the dean of men."

He pointed across the room. "Filling one whole wall in our conference room was a map of the U.S. We had that map divided into eight sections. Now, each assistant was responsible for a particular section. All the newspaper clippings from our clipping service concerning his section were routed to him. He was responsible for knowing every prospect and every high school coach in his section. Get the idea? Every assistant had to keep up a correspondence with the high school coaches in his territory and see that each coach was invited to State for a visit some time during the year."

Blenheim walked back to the desk and leaned over it to look at one of the framed photographs. He pointed:

Continue Story
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Related Topics
  ARTICLES GALLERIES COVERS
Bob Wyczk 1 0 0
College Football 12088 0 92
Paul "Bear" Bryant 193 0 4
Jim Tatum 12 0 0
Wally Wyczk 0 0 0