By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Managing Editor
Juneau-Douglas (Alaska) football coach Kevin Hamrick found himself in the eye of a media firestorm a few seasons – and perhaps for good reason. After he discussed a team hazing controversy flippantly in the Juneau Empire in early September, the newspaper’s editorial board called on him to resign. A week later, Hamrick brought on more bad headlines when he was accused of verbally abusing a Juneau-Douglas teacher who refused to turn over game film following a home win.
By December, Hamrick’s bosses had seen enough bad headlines. The Juneau School District committed to spending $11,000 to educate its staff on establishing professional relationships with the media.
So what did Hamrick learn?
The Keys to Handling the Media
- Don’t single out players. As a head coach, you are responsible for the discipline of your players. But that doesn’t mean that disciplinary process needs to play out in public.
- Play along. Don’t blow off your media contact after a rough loss. Face the music, and call in your result or accept an interview request. Accountability goes a long way.
- Advocate for your players. Use the media to your advantage. Call a local publication, and tell the editor about your best student-athletes. He or she will appreciate your consideration.
- Speak on your terms. Many reporters are on deadline immediately following games, but if you’re not ready to talk, don’t. Make a reporter wait, and one person is upset. Say something stupid, and a readership revolts.