By Corey J. Corbin
Allied News Sports Columnist
I DON’T KNOW Reynolds coach Jerry Pacifico on a personal basis, but based off of a brief five-minute post-game interview, I can tell he’s one of the best coaches in Mercer County.
This has nothing to do with X’s or O’s or Pacifico helping turn around a Raider program that managed just six victories in five years before winning six in 2012 alone.
That’s a great accomplishment and one that should be lauded, but instead, I’m talking about a man that truly cares about his players.
After Pacifico’s Raiders held off Mercer 27-14 Friday night, I waited nearly 10 minutes to get Pacifico’s post-game comments while he embraced each of his seniors and offered words of encouragement to his sobbing players, who had just played in their final game as Reynolds Raider.
It’s entirely possible he shed a tear or 30 himself.
To quote Jerry Seinfield, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”
Pacifico’s post-game actions seem to be a rarity in high school sports these days. Many coaches walk off the field or court after talking to the entire team instead of inviting their seniors to a post-game ‘huddle’ and ‘man hug.’
I get it.
I truly do.
Sports are a manly-man arena and hugs are considered not masculine, but so much emotion goes into it why not cry when you lose? You should be devastated.
But, I digress.
I honestly don’t remember seeing a coach take time out to hug and thank his seniors for all they’ve done for the program – I’m not saying it doesn’t happen just that I haven’t seen it as often as I should – and I’m no newbie to the world of high school athletics.
I’ve been covering high school and local college sports for nearly 16 years now and have been to way too many senior nights – or final playoff games – to count.
The kinds of displays Pacifico showcased Friday night don’t happen frequently.
To me, that shows just how deeply Pacifico cares about his players – especially ones that won’t help him win a game next year.
I understand other coaches may invite each player into his or her office in the days following a season-ending loss to have a similar interaction, but it’s not in the heat of the moment.
I also get that the coaches also publicly thank them for their efforts when media members like myself cover the game, but how often does that happen?
In this situation and situations like it, actions speak louder than words.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not questioning how much or how little other coaches care about their players, because you don’t coach high school athletics to get rich.
That much I know for sure.
Just like I know showing your players how much you care will create memories those players won’t soon forget.
Agree, Disagree or just want to comment contact Corey at firstname.lastname@example.org.