Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Bruce Weber Needs Media Relations Training

Some may argue with me because they hate the media and/or don't trust them but I believe maintaining a good relationship with them is an important part of any coach's job. I realize this doesn't apply in every single case (see Bobby Knight) but much more often than not, it's in the coach's best interest to treat the media with respect and dignity, no matter how much the coach disagrees with them. I even would go as far as to argue that his/her success or failure to some extent hinges on his or her skills with the media.

The reason I believe this? Perception=reality and in this day of 24-hour news cycles, blogs, YouTube, e-mail, message boards, etc., news travels fast. Especially bad news. Therefore, it is very easy to get a negative perception very quickly that is very hard to turn around. If the media doesn't like a coach, they are less likely to write about his/her successes and more likely to write about his/her failures.

In fact, there is nothing the media likes to cover more than a rising or falling star.

To that end, Bruce Weber fed into the falling star perception at his press availability yesterday. Take a look:

This is not at all helpful to an Illinois basketball program that is already struggling both on the court and in the court of public perception. I understand Weber is stressed but he's paid not to lose his cool, especially with the press. It doesn't help the confidence of the fans, alumni or recruits.

Speaking of recruits, it sounds like some Pac-10 school like Arizona may be after Quinton Watkins. That is a good sign. It must mean he's good. But it also means Weber needs to hold on to him. If he doesn't, he might as well quite recruiting. Eric Gordon was stolen and if Eric Gordon's replacement gets stolen then every coach is in the country is gonna know they can take whatever recruits they want from Weber.

Can you see the handwriting on the wall yet? He'll get even more upset. Have another meltdown...vicious cycle. He needs to break it. Now.

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