courtesy @umichbball on Twitter

Michigan and Wisconsin basketball coaches fight post-game

Juwan Howard gets into a fight that might cost him his career, says sports writer Daryl Turner.

Head coaches fight all the time. Whether it’s with the refs, players or other coaches it’s just what comes with the job, but Michigan University head coach Juwan Howard took it to the next level.

While walking through the handshake line at the end of the game, coach Howard was grabbed by University of Wisconsin’s head coach Greg Gard, as Gard tried to explain to Howard why earlier in the game he had called a timeout with the score being as out of reach as it was. Howard did not appreciate this grab and instantly grabbed Gard by his collar and the two were immediately separated, but this quarrel continued.

On various videos, one can see Howard standing behind three or four people acting still very irate and nearing the end of his patience. The assistant coach from Wisconsin, Joe Krabbenhoft, enters the circle that has now grown to six or seven people, with all involved pushing and shoving. Then out of nowhere Howard leaps over two men in front of him, open hand smacking the assistant head coach in the face.

No head coach should ever take it this far. The action itself does not bother me — although it wasn’t the best or brightest idea — but the reason. At the press conference Howard sat down and talked about the incident claiming that the only reason he did what he did is because Gard had grabbed him, so he acted in self defense.

Now, I’m no investigator, but I can put two and two together. If Gard was the main person your frustration was targeted towards because he grabbed you, why would you deliberately palm the face of the assistant coach? The actions are illogical. Nonetheless he did what he did and can’t take it back. The worst part is that this irrational decision not only affected Howard, but his team as well.

A brawl almost broke out after that swipe of the face by Howard, with some of his athletes trying to hold him back while others fought for him. Ultimately this type of thing should never happen. Because of his actions, Howard was suspended for the rest of the regular season (five games) and fined $40,000 for his misconduct. Gard wasn’t suspended, but he did receive a $10,000 fine. The players from Michigan who received a suspension were Terreance Williams II (one game) Moussa Diabate (one game) and on Wisconsin’s side Jahcobi Neath (one game).

All in all, Howard is a good person who, even though he had a little temper tantrum that almost turned into a brawl, was reasonable and sincere enough to make a full apology to everybody. Does that excuse his actions? No, but it does show that he can accept responsibility and hopefully do better as the coach of Michigan basketball. As a head coach in the NCAA, Howard has a standard to uphold and abide by. Granted, mistakes are made everyday, but everybody out on that court knows what their job is and if you can’t keep your emotions in check while performing that job then maybe that job isn’t for you.

I’m personally glad he didn’t get fired, but he did give his opponents all the ammunition they needed to say, “Hey this isn’t working out, we need to part ways” anytime his team doesn’t do as well as expected. Rooting for Howard or not, he will get a chance to redeem himself as a head coach and all he can do and probably will do, is go out there and coach his butt off for his team.

Post Author: Daryl Turner