In the past 12 or so hours, I’ve heard a lot of things about my incident with head men’s basketball coach Karl Hobbs after his team’s 68-36 loss to Virginia Tech. I thought it would do some good to recount what happened from my perspective, to the best of my memory:
During the post-game press conference, Hobbs commented that the team was outplayed in “every phase of the game”, then went on to list four or five specific areas, such as being “out-shot”. He also commented that VT head coach Seth Greenberg has done a great job and did a great job that night. This made me wonder what Hobbs thought about his own performance last night, so I asked “Does ‘every phase of the game’ include being out-coached?” to which he replied “You can say that if you want.” I wasn’t sure what to make of that and didn’t want to misinterpret it, so I asked for a clarification and got the same response with the added “It sounds like that’s what you want to say.”
A few minutes later, the press conference ended. Before Greenberg could start his press conference, Director of Sports Information Brad Bower informed me that Hobbs wanted to speak with me in the hallway. Upon approaching Hobbs, he said (in a tone a little louder than conversational, but not yelling), “When I get some top-50 recruits you can talk to me about coaching,” then walked away. Offended that he would just walk away without allowing a response, I replied “Are you going to just walk away?” He turned around and I calmly asked him if not having top 50 recruits removed him from being blamed for his team’s performance, to which he said “No” and repeated his earlier statement. After this Director of Athletics calmly turned Hobbs away (Kvancz did not, as was suggested, have to hold Hobbs back or grab him).
I’d like to clarify that at no point did I feel physically threatened, nor did he “scream” or anything like that. I wouldn’t say the exchange was cordial, though.
I did not ask the original question to inflame him or take a shot at him–I simply wanted to know what he thought about his own performance that night. I’ve never understood why the concept of being “out-coached” is offensive to some. Players openly admit to being beaten by a better team; why can’t a coach say he was outdone by a better coach? If he didn’t think so, Hobbs could have easily said “No, I don’t think that was the case” and it would have been done. I think most people can agree that coaches, like players, are allowed bad nights.
I had some internal debate about whether to mention the incident in an article and, if so, how? I decided that the confrontation itself was not important, but the content of it was. Hobbs, in so many words, was saying that the reason the team lost was because his players simply weren’t good enough. My best interpretation of his statement was that the game was such a mismatch on the court that little could be done from a coach’s standpoint to change that. Virginia Tech may be an ACC team with some good players, but it is hardly Duke or North Carolina. I don’t think most people think that the two teams’ talents were so different as to warrant a 32 point margin, so what was the difference? Could it have been coaching? Apparently, in Hobbs’ opinion, the problem was somewhere else.
I hope this clears up some of what happened. It’s a little bit all over the place, but if you have any questions, feel free to email me or post a comment here.