Red Shoes & F-Bombs

January17/ 2000

Should Big Time coaches have “image coordinators” to craft their public personas?  With millions of dollars at stake, can a school afford to have a coach “just be himself”?  Chuck’s sunglasses and shoes, John’s weight, Dean’s guarded paranoia, Bobby’s dadgums, Mike’s cussing, Spurrier’s visor, etc ….We love “our guy’s” eccentricities IF HE WINS.  We despise “their guy’s” cornball antics IF HE WINS.  Another “Coordinator” …. Hot Dog!

   A number of you (UNC fans) keep asking me to rip Chuck Amato for his sunglasses, his squeaky voice, etc etc etc, and, of course, “those red shoes”.   Many of you (UNC fans) equate Coach Amato’s wardrobe eccentricities to kiddie porn, stealing from the church, car-jacking, and the dreaded “double dipping” of hors d’oeuvres. I don’t quite see it that way. 

   Chuck’s wardrobe choices don’t bother me. Neither did Norm Sloan’s plaid jackets, Les’s red sweater, or V’s corvette.  I applaud a sense of “showmanship”.  Amato appears to be a man unafraid of drawing attention to himself.  I liked it in Joe Namath and Muhammed Ali too.  Why his sunglasses and red shoes so incense Carolina fans is a mystery … and a fact that surely delights Coach Amato to no end.  Tar Heels just have a thing about sunglasses … just ask NASCarl.

   Overt showmanship definitely comes with a price and Chuck paid that price on October 9th.  If one sets oneself up as the symbol for the program, then you are that symbol in victory or defeat.  Dick Sheridan “owned” UNC like Kunta Kinta, but stayed well beneath the hate radar.

   I do not equate Chuck’s red shoes with Coach K’s sideline profanity.  I’m on record as chastising The Profane Polish Prince of West Derm for his renowned obscene language.  With Mike its either Tourrette’s Syndrome or Mama K just didn’t raise him right.  Yo, Mike, you’ve been out of South Chicago for 30 years. Clean up the potty mouth.  Red shoes – non factor … F-bombs – bad!

   All UNC coaches are measured by one standard – Ye Olde Legend.  Dean The Micro Manager measured every syllable and ran his program like an anal retentive prison warden. Yo Rashad!  It worked for Dean.  Bobby Bowden’s dadgumit style has worked for him and FSU.

   Mack was similar to Dean in that he was acutely “image conscious”. Mack was clean cut. Mack also married a local real estate diva which did not hurt him in the “fit in” category. Mack always responded to fan mail and could recall names … VERY good habits for any coach to have.  

   Amato’s similarity to Jim Valvano is oft-mentioned.  Both Eye-talian with names ending in a vowel, and both “quippy showmen” to their fans and to the media … and both hated with a white hot passion by UNCers.  Being loved by your fans and hated by rival fans is a good thing.

   Mike O’Cain, Les Robinson, and Herb Sendek are/were very low key (aka “dull”) types …  and never enjoyed appreciable popularity within the WuffNation. Would they have if they had won more often  … yes and no.  For Herb to effect some Amato-isms would be as painful to watch as it would be for Herb to pull off.

   Wuffies seem to prefer a “Braveheart”-type icon to paint his face and parade around ginning them up into a “Wuffs against the world” fervor.  Nothing wrong with that. They hated Todd Turner because he owned a seersucker “Matlock suit” … OK, there was that alma mater thingie too.

   Bill Dooley was “just a football coach”, not a Renaissance Man.  He was the antithesis of Dean Smith.  Dean hit his first home run in 1967 and was at full speed before Dooley could get untracked … ergo, Dean was the success model, not Dooley.  I am pretty sure Bill Dooley never discussed Nietzsche with philosophy professors at The Porthole.  He might have discussed “crank baits” with the mechanic at George Barclay’s Texaco station.  Nietzsche good – crank baits bad. By By Bill.

   Coach Dooley and his staff never fit into the Franklin Street culture … and despite success on the field, were eventually run out of town.  Dick Crum had the professorial appearance and demeanor to “fit in” but his overt disdain for “Southern culture” (and those goofy headphones) were his Achilles Tar Heel. Survival Lesson #27: Don’t diss barbecue.

   John Bunting is “liked” by many otherwise disgruntled UNC fans.  I have a pair of cowboy boots that I have the same unexplainable affinity for.  The affection for John stems from his oft-expressed “love for Carolina”. If Benito Mussolini came to town and ohhhed and ahhhed about how mega-cool Franklin Street is, he could become Chancellor, Mayor, and Fascist Warlord of Carrboro without notable opposition … such is the Tar Heel passion for positive reaffirmations.

   “Profuse bleeding blue” will buy you four years as a Football Coach but only three years as a Basketball Coach … go figure!

   Carolina might soon be in the market for a new football coach.  Will how he looks and acts “matter” or that he “just win, baby, just win”.  The “just win” part will buy him 2-3 years then the resident “style surgeons” will take to dissecting his appearance, his syntax, and the lack of imagination in his “3rd and long” calls.  

   A name you hear a lot recently is “Urban Meyer” the sideline architect of UNC most recent character building Saturday.  He is “hot” because his Utes are undefeated and he has an unusual first name.  If his name was Joe Meyer he would just be another Ute coach.  Does he have a squeaky voice and wear sunglasses?  Who knows … his Utes are “hot” and his name is “Urban”.  

“Yo Dickie, you silly squirrel, send “Urb The Ute” a blank check sight unseen right now.”  


“But “anonymous Internet guys” he eats jello with his fingers, recruits cretinous felons and has a lazy eye.”  

“We’ll worry about that in 3 years.  Throw “Fat Cat Bucks” and that “sleeping giant” quote at him NOW! Throw in a copy of Choo Choo’s eulogy.”

“Will people like me any better if I do?”

“Bwahahahaha … just send the freakin’ check Dickie.”

   (Actually Urban is a rather handsome Ben Affleck-type but has never stayed longer than 2 years at either of his two head coaching stops).

   Steve Spurrier wears a visor, baits rival coaches, is very arrogant and outspoken, and loved by sideline photographers for his histrionics involving the throwing of the aforementioned visor. He could get away with that act for, again, 2-3 years at UNC before the “Dean wouldn’t do that” police would cite him for un-Carolina behavior.

   Larry Coker is a jug-eared basset hound who wins Abe Vigoda’s lookalike contests … and has lost fewer games in his four year career than UNC has lost in October.  Ralph Fridgen is a fatso … who has won 10 games/year for the past 3 years.  Jim Grobe looks like a hardware store owner in Kernersville.  Tommy Bowden – a real estate salesman at Lake Lanier.  Al Groh strikes me as a constipated psycho … but I’ve never met him.  

   Jim and Tommy-types would make it in Chapel Hill … Fat Ralph and jug-eared Larry would not. Maybe the perfect Carolina coach would be Walter Matthau – Dean Smith’s nose and Larry Coker’s ears … there’s a Halloween mask to scare the neighbor’s kids.


Swagger’s Stumper

Halloween Special

Who played goalie for Crystal Lake’s hockey team?

First & Last name, please


SSays readers know more about The Everly Brothers than they do about The ACC.  Jim Weaver, Bob James, Gene Corrigan, and John Swofford are the four ACC commishs.  Phil & Don are The Everly Brothers.

Ron got Zooked in Gainesville … as Swagger and a bazillion other pundits so adroitly predicted.  

Curt Schilling and his bloody “Red Sox” are the stuff of legend.  Cardinals made mistake of wearing wrong color caps.  BobLee and Stan Musial know that Cardinals WEAR RED CAPS!

If BoSox win WS that will leave Cubbies and the UNC Athletic Dept has the two most maligned and second-guessed organizations in all of sports.

Swagger has a buncha ALIVE civic club appearances coming up in November across the state.  Early 2005 reservations now being scheduled. Contact us at e-address below.

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