Wednesday, April 04, 2012

We must pause in appreciation....Charlie Coles

I have been meaning to write this post for a while....ever since Charlie Coles slipped the surly bonds of the Mid-American Conference one night after a tournament game at Savage Hall.  It had been clear that he was on his way out.  He had even said that he was "trying to say goodbye" but "didn't know how."

He left like King Lear, raging.  He did not go quietly.  He left the strage, thrashing and twisting.  They had to drag him off, and you know, in an odd way, you gotta respect that.  The world has plenty of places for people who accept their fate.

Coles was a great character, of mythic proportions, a man and a coach who had cheated death (literally) on the sidelines of a MAC basketball game.  He was an eccentric and an original.  In a world of cookie-cutter coaches in the same expensive suits, he was rumpled and messy.

We had taken to calling him the evil genius, because no matter how poorly his team had played they always seemed to find a way to ruin a Falcon season.  And, no matter how bad they might look, when they got to the MAC tournament, the evil genius had cooked up some kind of plan that made him very, very dangerous.

From joking with BG fans who were chanting at him to sit down to his late season "sandwich" edict (that caused a rebellion on the team bus), Coles showed a sense of humor that I don't remember seeing in a MAC Coach.  He never failed; never failed to be entertaining and never failed to be a great coach.

He is the winningest coach in the history of the MAC.  (When he hugged a clearly horrified Bob Nichols after breaking his record, he set a MAC record for causing discomfort in an old white man.).

When he announced his retirement, he said he would go home that night and drink some wine.


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