Back stabbing. Revenge. Personal vendettas. Power abuse. Outraged citizens. Angry Mobs. This week’s episode of Game of Thrones? NO. This is my hometown of Andover, Massachusetts, after the news involving our popular hockey coach Chris Kuchar. The man turned around a struggling program but was let go after one of the most successful seasons in history—even though the team and coach won numerous awards and accolades. And parents, fans, players, and alumni are outraged. The man responsible for the move is Andover Schools’ Superintendent Shelley Berman. And he has earned a long stay in Beav's Penalty Box.
To understand the frustration here, you must look at the history between the school and Kuchar. In 2017-18, a parent came forward with false abuse accusations against the coach. Although he was cleared by an independent investigation, he lost his full-time job at a bank. More importantly however, it came out that a 2016 letter by Berman circulated in which he urged the removal of Coach Kuchar, because Berman’s son didn’t get enough playing time. This past season, Kuchar took a young team with very few seniors to heights not seen in years. And Berman fired him.
I am a product of both the Andover school system and sports teams. Coaches are vital educators and some of the best lessons I have learned are from coaches. Chris Kuchar fits this moniker to a tee. His kids did charity appearances, worked with kids, and excelled in school. He is a game changer. He cared about these kids and their families. He won on and off the ice. And he was fired. Why? One man.
Revenge is best served cold is an old saying. I guess ice is cold. I have talked to many parents, kids, and members of the media since this was announced last Monday. Not one person has given me a legitimate reason for this move. I would welcome one. But when your coach wins on and off the field and is let go by a boss who tried to fire him three years ago, you don’t have to be Inspector Clouseau to figure out why. Using your title and power to take out a good man is a good way to earn a stay in Beav's Penalty Box. For using his job to hurt a great man, good kids, and great families, Andover Superintendent of Schools Shelley Berman has a LONG stay in Beav's Penalty Box.
In this edition of #WeeklyWrap, Beav breaks down Lebron and The Lakers, Bryce Harper, The NFL combine and the weekend Big Ten Basketball Showdown between UM and MSU>
In The Den: Inside Michigan Baseball - Team #153 Episode 2: With Guest UM Pitching Coach Chris Fetter
In our 2nd edition of In The Den, we welcome back Beav's good buddy and new Dad, UM Pitching Coach Chris Fetter.
Monday concluded the annual NFL combine, where draft eligible players work out, run, meet with teams, and undergo extensive medical testing. Think of it as a job interview with a potential employer after they have your application. The non-physical portion typically accounts for about 20% to 30% of the “interview,” with the physical portion accounting for the rest. Game film gets teams’ attention, but teams want to see how you prepare for a test—when you know the answers and how you handle one on one interaction. Football is a team sport, but individual action is crucial to success. Finding bigger, stronger, smarter players is a good thing. And exposure—good and bad—is a positive for both teams and athletes.
The Combine helps teams and players see differences when prospects are neck-and-neck. It is not hard to see why Dexter Lawrence plays defensive tackle and Joey Bosa plays defensive end. But teams are scheme-specific and prefer bigger or smaller players at certain positions. You will hear things like, scheme fits and flexibility, 3-down players, core special teams’ player—these are ways teams say, “Player A is a better for us than player B.” And teams have star players under contract, so 1st and 2nd day guys at certain positions do not make sense for teams. The Dallas Cowboys, NY Giants and LA Rams, for example, will not select running backs in the first two rounds.
The Combine has come a long way from the days when people like Bill Parcells would mock it with “Underwear Olympics” comments. Players like Bosa, who are recovering from injury, use it as a showcase, others like UMass wide receiver Andy Isabella, a coming out party. Teams also downgrade guys who are out of shape, unprepared, or have extreme weight changes. The NFL views eight weeks as an eternity and players can make or lose millions in that time. Like the game itself, so much of this weekend is about mental as physical.
My message to fans and teams is the same here. The combine is part of the selection process, but nobody got tackled, blocked, or sacked. This is not football. It is football preparation and testing. We have all seen guys who play great in practice and are DUDS in games. But it is good to see some guys who have been great in actual games look great in Indy, while a small school guy like Isabella get some props. It’s also cool to see why a smaller guy like Chase Winovich or Devin Bush is good. Combine the combine, take the information and tape and draw your own conclusions. But always remember this: The best quarterback workout at the combine the last 20 years? JaMarcus Russell. The worst? Tom Brady. Players play.
In this edition of Weekly wrap, Beav discusses Mr. K, The NHL trade deadline and Michigan Basketball.
The NFL off season is here... And Beav explains why where your team's QB situation is at greatly impacts every move your team makes.