Four Tips for Handling the Media

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Dan Guttenplan is FNF Coaches senior managing editor. Do you have a thought about this article you would like to share? Send him an email at, tweet us @fnfcoaches or share it on the Coaches Chat Board.