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How to Win

Sorry State of Affairs

’Twas the season for apologies.

First, New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin and Giants quarterback Eli Manning apologized to fans for the team’s brutal performance against the Atlanta Falcons.

Then yesterday, University of Tennessee men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl issued an apology after four of his players were arrested in a traffic stop and are facing misdemeanor drug, gun and alcohol charges.

Pearl’s action was particularly striking because it was addressed in part to coaching colleague Pat Summitt, head of the women’s basketball program at the school. He also contacted the parents of all his players.

“This is tough. This is so hard because we’ve worked so hard to try to do the right things,” Pearl said.

Police reported finding alcohol, a gun and marijuana in the car in which the players were riding. All four have been indefinitely suspended. The Tennessee men’s team is ranked 14th in the country.

As for the Giants, they had a chance to keep their playoff chances alive, and also to say a dignified farewell to Giants Stadium in their game against Atlanta. Instead, they were humiliated, 41-9.

“I do think the one thing I want to say to our fans is that to a man, we’d like to apologize,” Coughlin said.

“I apologize. I’m sorry. I wish I had an answer,” Manning added.

No coach ever wants to have to issue an apology like the ones those two coaches did. Unfortunately, coaching involves a range of experiences, from the incredibly rewarding to the deeply disappointing.

Perhaps they can take comfort in the words of Henry Ward Beecher: “One’s best success comes after the greatest disappointments.”


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