Let’s pretend that you are a college football coach in the middle of your season. It doesn’t make any difference if your football team is losing or winning.
Now let’s change whistles and pretend that you are the hottest college basketball coach in the entire universe.
Your name is John Calipari, head basketball coach at the University of Kentucky. Last season your team won the national championship. The star of that team, Anthony Davis, went on to win an Olympic Gold Medal with the USA basketball team. He was the first choice in the NBA draft.
Media members from TV, newspapers, magazines and all of the other various scouting news services are constantly clamoring for your ear.
What to do?
Well, Calipari has to be the sharpest media handler in the history of Dr. Naismith’s roundball game.
In the middle of the college basketball season, Calipari invites various television sportscasters to do a one-on-one sit-down interview with him. Who would turn him down?
Answer: Are you crazy?
So TV station after TV station hurries to Lexington with their top sports people. Among them was Kent Taylor, who is sports director of WAVE-TV, the station that carries the Southeastern Conference basketball package.
Taylor also writes a sports column for one of the weekly papers that carries my column around the state. That paper is The Voice-Tribune of Louisville.
My top editor, Angie Fenton, had the good news judgment not only to publish Kent’s column but devoted nearly all of our first page in Section A. That means the first page in the entire paper with a huge photo plus a smaller one.
For the last 52 years I have listened to complaints from readers and fans from every section of the state. Too much college stuff. More coverage, please, of my high school. Not enough football. NBA and on and on.
I used to tell sports editors and managing editors when I conducted seminars for them at the American Press Institute at Columbia University’s School of Journalism that every sport deserves a piece of the pie. It is your decision how big – and how often – you should serve the pie. You are never going to satisfy everyone.
My paper has received complaints from University of Louisville fans because of the huge space we gave Taylor’s Calipari interview.
Now, please, listen to this:
If UK football coach Joker Phillips and University of Louisville head football coach Charlie Strong and UofL head basketball coach Rick Pitino will sit still for exclusive interviews, Ms. Fenton will see that our paper will give the same coverage that John Calipari got. I can’t speak for WAVE-TV or Taylor, but surely they would be receptive to exclusive one-on-one interviews.
One other angle that should be discussed is how much football coaches gnash their teeth at so much space given to hoops at the height of the gridiron season.
With so many football fans staying away from UK home games, there has to be a simmering of the heat on Wildcat football coach Joker Phillips.
One might be surprised at what UofL football boss Charlie Strong thinks about all of the daily basketball news.