Chapter 3 of Craig Ross’s wonderful tome Obscene Diaries of a Michigan fan starts this way*:
The average person, when he walks into his doctor’s office, does not assume he knows as much or more than the physician. Even if the patient reads about medical issues in the NY Times, has an uncle who is a physician, and once won an insurance dispute with Blue Cross, he is unlikely to make the leap that he knows better than the doc. Yet, somehow, the casual football fan often thinks that he (rarely she) “knows better” than the coach. That schmuck. Putz. Fool. Moron. Corso. Beano! I won’t say Michigan fans are worse in this regard than other fans. But they are definitely not better.
Earlier this week coach John Beilein called into WTKA morning show. Host Sam Webb asked the coach essentially what’s been on everyone’s mind: why’s C.J. Lee starting at point over Kelvin Grady? Listen to beginning of Beilein’s answer, a message to those that question his decisions:
For those who can’t hear it, after Webb suggests fans are asking about playing time at the point, Beilein offers this:
Beilein: “First of all, anybody with questions about this..would have to watch every practice, every day, for the last 32 years to find out why I make decisions…”
You can hear the whole exchange here. Reading between the lines, Beilein suggests that Lee’s a stronger defender and has practiced better, and you can’t play 4 or 5 point guards and maintain the right flow. Keep in mind this interview happened before the Minnesota game, where Grady excelled in limited action.
But back to the sound clip, I think all coaches feel the way Beilein does and either don’t say it, or just act grumpy toward the media (Lloyd Carr, Rodriguez sometimes) who dare question their expertise. Certainly Beilein was a tad over the top by suggesting we’re required to teleport back to 1977 to grasp the depths of his strategy, but I see his frustration. Guys calling into WTKA watch a couple hours of Michigan hoops each week; Beilein lives it.
* I shortened it down a tad, read the book!