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Coach isn’t giving a ‘coaching effort’
eli cranor
Syndicated sports columnist Eli Cranor

Dear Athletic Support: My daughter’s basketball coach isn’t coaching. Which sounds weird, right? But I’m serious. She just sits in the chair the entire game and randomly substitutes players. I swear I think she’s just going down the line and subbing whoever’s chair is next. Why would a coach do this? Surely there are other jobs she could do within the school district if she’s no longer interested in actually coaching. Is there anything I can do to try and have her removed from this position?



Dear Pitiful: Coaching is no different from any other profession. People get burned out. But I’m with you. A past-her-prime coach can have a huge (negative) impact on her student athletes.

I coached for five years, and I can honestly say I gave one-hundred percent during that time. Then, one day, we’re at a team camp in the summer, and I knew, right then, I was done. A week or so later, I had resigned from coaching and accepted a position as an English teacher.

 Any coach who really cares about the players knows they can’t do their job halfway. However, there’s not much you, personally, can do to remove a coach for being lazy, besides stirring up trouble with administrators and school board members, which I wouldn’t advise you to do.


Dear Athletic Support: There is a player on my son’s high school basketball team who starts but isn’t very good. Not only does he start, but he also plays most of the game. He doesn’t have a shot. He’s not even that great at defense, but he’s still out there. The only reason I can come up with is that this kid’s dad is a teacher at the high school. The dad is one of those “cool” teachers and has a lot of local support. Would a coach really play politics like that and start a player just because his dad is respected within the district? I hope not. If that is what I’m up against here, what can I do?

—Wish I Were “Cool”


Dear Wish: I’ve heard of coaches’ kids getting special treatment, but I’ve never heard of a teacher’s child getting extra playing time. This doesn’t mean it never happens, but it just seems like a stretch to me. 

I guess I might be wrong. Maybe there are some teachers who’ve been in a school district forever and carry more clout than I can imagine. But in the end, coaches want to win. Period. So unless this “cool” teacher has some serious blackmail on your coach, I seriously doubt the juice would be worth the squeeze. 

If this coach is playing favorites and the team starts to lose, he’ll have a lot more to worry about than a disgruntled “cool” teacher on his hands; his boss might come calling for his job. 

Eli Cranor is a former professional quarterback and coach turned award-winning author. Send questions for “Athletic Support” to or use the contact page on 

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