E-mail Dan
 Radio affiliates
 Dan's bio
 Rob's bio
 Audio highlights
December 06, 2001

A new motto: "Just quit"
By Dan Patrick

Norv Turner was fired Monday by the Washington Redskins. At his press conference, it was obvious that he wanted to finish the season and see what he could do.

He had been coaching this Redskins' edition since August and had agreed to do it for the preseason and 16 games. Turner wanted to honor his commitment. How quaint.

Bobby Ross
Former Lions coach Bobby Ross resigned Nov. 6 when Detroit's record was 5-4.

Today in sports, quitting seems to be in fashion. Coaches use it to motivate teams. Quitting is also much more of an option now, not as distasteful a choice as it used to be.

Money has a lot to do with it, of course. People can afford to quit after putting in a few years on a big-money deal.

Still, it rubs me the wrong way. Nearly every sports cliché or rallying cry has to do with not giving up. Sports is about competition and competition is about effort and quitting is about the end of effort.

Do we have to rewrite some of our sayings to fit the new times?

  • Just quit.

  • Bail out for the Gipper.

  • Don't quit unless things get hard.

  • Give 73 percent!

  • Quit when you're behind.

  • When the going gets tough, run for cover and pray!

    The idea that a coach would tell his team that he will quit if things don't get better is preposterous. Can you imagine Vince Lombardi or George Halas trotting that one out?

    "Come on, Butkus! You start hitting people or I'm gone!"

    But Rick Pitino has told his Celtics' team that he is leaving his contract early if they don't get better. Paul Westphal volunteered to quit if the majority of Sonics' players wanted that. The Sonics fired him but his willingness to walk couldn't have helped him in the locker room or the front office.

    Bobby Ross quit on the Lions. Dick Bennett quit on Wisconsin. I will never know the stresses they felt, but as coaching veterans they know the stresses. Both men should have sized up their situations before committing to another season.

    So what if Bobby Ross felt he had lost the team? It probably happened to him once or twice before. He could have figured it out and hung in there. And he should have.

    I can't help but think of the late Jim Valvano. At the end of his life, he implored us to never quit, to never give up.

    Jim Fassell threatened to quit the New York Giants. He's probably glad he didn't.

    Gunther Cunningham threatened to quit the Chiefs last year. He probably wishes he did.

    It goes on. Kevin McHale threatened to quit if he is punished for his role in the Timberwolves' contract mess with Joe Smith. Nice move. He cuts the legs out from under the team for the next five years and then threatens to walk away from it. He should be working tirelessly to improve that team until they have a first-round pick again.

    Heck, McHale should come out of retirement for them instead of quitting.

    I can't help but think of the late Jim Valvano. At the end of his life, he implored us to never quit, to never give up. When faced with his mortality, and when totaling up his life's experience, the message that mattered most to him was to hang in there and fight when things get tough. He must be shaking his head at these guys who threaten to quit in the face of a three-game losing streak.

    At least Norv Turner can hold his head up. He seems to have heard what Jim Valvano was saying. He didn't quit. He wanted to finish the job.

    Send this story to a friend | Most sent stories

    D.C. follies: Redskins fire Turner as head coach

    Bennett cites burnout, quits as Wisconsin hoops coach

    Ross quits as Lions coach; Moeller given 3-year deal

    Patrick: A winner never quits

    Mort Report: Bobby Ross is no quitter

    Dan Patrick page: 2001 archive

    Dan Patrick: 2001 Outtakes archive

    Dan Patrick: Ask Dan archive

    Dan Patrick Archive