Mind Over Sports

Posts Tagged ‘Mike Singletary

I’ve met Mike Singletary and he is a really excellent person of high moral character…and is also a loving husband and loving father. But if he’s selected to take over the Baylor football team to replace Coach Art Briles, he must learn from the past. And that is, make certain his players are not afraid of him. In my opinion, that is what happened when Mike was head coach of the 49ers. When a player is afraid of the possible wrath of his head coach, he’ll lack focus and will be constantly worried that he might make an error. And it’s this very lack of focusing that causes turnovers and mental errors during competition. But here’s the good news. Mike genuinely cares about his players but for some reason that didn’t come across when he was the 49er’s head coach. When players know their head coach loves them and cares about them they’ll play their hearts out for him. So that would be Mike’s primary mission. To make certain his players know he loves them. And to keep his anger under control.

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When Mike Singletary took over the head coaching job at the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, everyone expected great things from him and the team. I have met him personally and he is a very nice person.  But unfortunately, Mike’s “tough love” approach didn’t work because his team members were scared of him and were constantly trying to avoid bringing down his wrath upon them rather than playing the game of football. But don’t get me wrong. A tough love approach can work but ONLY if team members sense their coach genuinely cares about them as human beings first and then as athletic performers. This was one of Bobby Knight’s greatest gifts. His players knew he loved them and cared about them.

Now comes the new head football coach at Missouri State University.   His name is Dave Steckel and he’s a lot like Singletary. Coach Steckel is a former U.S. Marine and appears to be a no-nonsense type of guy. Which is good. But he also needs to learn from Coach Singletary’s failure. That is, tough love works if it’s accompanied by genuine love and caring by their head coach. And this is something that can’t be faked. Either you have the empathy or you don’t…and if you don’t, your players will know. The results will show up in the won-lost column and you will eventually fail

The following is from a report on the Internet:

Following a Super Bowl party in Atlanta on January 31, 2000, a fight broke out between Ray Lewis and his companions and another group of people, resulting in the stabbing deaths of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar. Lewis and two companions, Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting, were questioned by Atlanta police, and eleven days later the three men were indicted on murder and aggravated assault charges. The white suit Lewis was wearing the night of the killings has never been found. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard alleged that the bloodstained suit was dumped in a garbage bin outside a fast food restaurant.
Lewis’ attorneys negotiated a plea agreement with the Fulton County District Attorney, where the murder charges against Lewis were dismissed in exchange for his testimony against Oakley and Sweeting, and his guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice. Lewis admitted that he gave a misleading statement to police on the morning after the killings. Superior Court Judge Alice D. Bonner sentenced Lewis to 12 months’ probation, the maximum sentence for a first-time offender; and he was fined $250,000 by the NFL, which was believed to be the highest fine levied against an NFL player for an infraction not involving substance abuse. Under the terms of the sentence, Lewis could not use drugs or alcohol during the duration of the probation.
Oakley and Sweeting were acquitted of the charges in June 2000. No other suspects have ever been arrested for the crime.
On April 29, 2004, Lewis reached a settlement with four-year-old India Lollar, born months after the death of her father Richard, preempting a scheduled civil proceeding. Lewis also reached an undisclosed settlement with Baker’s family.

Did Ray Lewis commit murder and get away with it? No one will ever know for sure but I believe his involvement in the case put fear in the hearts of his teammates. And I also believe that he, like most superstars, has created internal problems on the team. When he gets in the face of teammates and screams at them, he does more harm than good. But all these years they’ve feared speaking up. No one has ever attempted to rein him in with the exception of Mike Singletary, when he was the Raven’s linebacker coach. I believe the Ravens, in the long run, will be much better off without him.


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