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Cal Coach Mike Montgomery Shoves a Player

In the era of Adolph Rupp, Bobby Knight, and Don Haskins, it wasn’t too uncommon for an upset coach to give a player a little shove or slap to get him motivated.  We now live in an age where any type of physical contact between a coach and player is taboo and considered largely unacceptable.

Last night, California head coach Mike Montgomery straddled that very fine and well defined line in a game against USC.  Cal is on the bubble, and could ill afford a home loss to lowly USC.

Trailing 44-32 early in the second, Montgomery called a time out to stop the bleeding.  Montgomery was angry with the performance and effort of his best player and team leader, Allen Crabbe.  Montgomery gave him a little shove and asked Crabbe, “Do you want to play?”  After a cooling off period, Crabbe returned and led the Golden Bears to 76-68 win over the Trojans.

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After the game Montgomery initially told the AP

“Worked, didn’t it?  Allen had come down twice went to the wrong side of the court and his guy shot two 3s. I was trying to get him going. Probably overdid it a little bit but Allen’s my guy. We can’t win if he is not ready to play.”

After realizing the potential severity of the incident and the ensuing fallout, Montgomery issued this much more P.C. statement through the university.

“I have great passion for this game and tonight, I let my emotions get away from me in the heat of the moment. While my intent was to motivate our student-athletes, my behavior was inappropriate and I apologize for my actions.”

Montgomery is a first time offender, so I would be surprised if he receives more than a stern warning from the university or the Pac-12.



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