This blog has been cathartic for me and I don't mind posting things that basketball coaches in Indiana endure. Following are emails received in the past. These are players for us that we have spent countless time, money, and love. They are players in which this parent have obviously done a very good job in raising their children because they are great kids, great kids...let me say it again great kids/people! (No, I am serious, they are great kids!)...this is an example of what we might receive from parents.
"Thank you Coach Hunter and coaching staff for all that you do. I have coached in the past and realize all the time and effort that is needed to be put in while coaching. My son doesn't bring home anything but his shoes, so I know that someone is washing his uniform and practice clothes every day. I also know that by you living outside of town that you are leaving home some days to be away from your family so you can do my child's laundry. I appreciate it a lot. Also, the things you do for them as people is why I am glad my son has played for you. I really hate that you have resigned at the end of the year because he is disappointed, but I do understand why you are doing it. It seems more and more (I know, I sit in the bleachers) that the things all coaches, not just you and your staff do a thankless job. Again, good luck the rest of the season and know that there are people who appreciate you and what you've done."
Below is my response:
Thank you. We don't often get these types of emails, but it is nice. You can best believe that I have enjoyed, overall, my time as head coach and am looking forward to being in the bleachers supporting the future coach and players.
Those are nice, they do come on ocassion, but we also get other kinds.
"I've sat back and watched for the last (few) years the antics and rediculousness of Perry Hunter coaching. Tonight at the (game) was the final straw for me and I am sure with this email it is going to have repercussions on my sons but I cannot watch it any longer quietly. After a bad play, which I understand completely he had on o (sic) his temper tantrums then proceeded to turn toward the bench and throw something causing the players sitting there to have to duck out of the way. I find this completely unacceptable and think there needs to be se (sic) sort of disciplinary action and at the very least a public apology. This is not a good example for the students, the school or the community. If the man can't control himself anymore than this I am not sure he needs to be in this position of authority. Like I said I know this will more than likely bring repercussions on my sons and if that happens I will deal with that with (sic) furnther steps. I would appreciate a reply and eagerly await it."
Following is my response email:
"I was shown your email that was delivered immediately after our loss vs. Crothersville and I don’t know if I can agree with you more. My behavior comes out of my competitive spirit and more so because I want to see the kids be successful. It is not about making me look bad or not look bad, but the kids rewarding their hard work and effort.
What I threw (which I should not have done) was my offensive and defensive plays written on paper and laminated with tape. I do not have any excuses for doing this other than frustration that comes from giving up my time to try and help young men be successful in something they like to do, and from the time they give up to reap the rewards of their own efforts.
I have to admit, I am a little upset that you didn’t feel like you could speak to me personally about any of these issues in the 3 years you have watched my antics or ridiculousness as I do not make myself unapproachable. Before anything got to this point, I would have hoped you had spoken to me before going to my superiors.
I think I am probably more offended that you think that airing your opinion will cause for negative consequences for your boys. Your two boys are two of the best kids we have, on and off the court. Nothing you ever said or did would make me do something negative to them.
I have apologized before to the team for things I have done as I did after the game Wednesday vs. Crothersville explaining to them where that frustration comes from and it isn’t about me. I have done nothing, but be open and honest with the players, apologized when I see necessary (more than most coaches would admit), loved, and cared about them on and off the court. If that makes me unfit to be in a position of authority, I guess we will have differing opinions.
In closing, I am more concerned with my job as a parent and to be quite honest, being a parent is the hardest job I have ever done. I thank God often that what I do as a parent sometimes is not evaluated by the community once a week. I try to coach my players in a way that I would want my own children to be coached. Every single thing I do I evaluate and contemplate based on that decision. I often go home and ask my wife, Kristi, what she thinks and she is honest with me, sometimes brutally. What I have found is that there are very few things I do as a coach that I would be against if a coach treated my children the way I treat my players."
During this exchange, I had nothing but positive support from my administration. Both the principal and Athletic Director supported me, realized that we can all be better and let me know they supported me almost unconditionally. This parent's following response which I let end the conversation is below, but I am going to answer here:
"I would expect nothing less than you supporting your coach and quite frankly I would be upset if you didn’t. I agree the job is tougher than it looks and I applaud all of the staff at the school for the hours that they give to the academic, athletic and fine arts departments. Your jobs are thankless, overworked and underpaid I will admit but I hope by this being pointed out to you and to Coach Hunter that it will open some eyes to some things and make the boys realize that you can’t have a temper tantrum then apologize and all will be okay (definitions of temper tantrums are different). (Also, if you remember, this person wanted a public apology which I have done here) I deal with the public and my employees daily and there are times when I would like nothing more than to have a fit and throw anything within reach but when in the public eye that is frowned upon (In no way are our jobs comparable other than being leaders, my online life and public life away from school is scrutinized continually). I do not harbor any bad feelings towards you or towards Coach Hunter and will continue to support HHS and its athletic programs constantly any way that I can. I appreciate the response from both of you and wish luck the rest of the season." (I have zero doubts this to be true. This person has always been perceived as supportive)