When Coaches Can’t Be The Bigger Person

By Brian Rice, SportsRadioWNML

As we discussed on the Erik Ainge Show this morning, Florida softball coach Tim Walton’s just couldn’t hold his enormous ego in check when Auburn’s Haley Fagan declined to shake his hand following the Tigers’ 1-0 victory at Florida Monday night.

First, the video:

http://www.espn.com/espnw/sports/article/19019560/tim-walton-florida-gators-haley-fagan-auburn-tigers-get-postgame-tussle?addata=espn:frontpage

Now, Haley Fagan shouldn’t have declined to shake Tim Walton’s hand. Though it’s a forced situation at an emotional time and there is a great deal of personal family history between the two, she should have slapped his hand like everyone else and moved on. She didn’t.

I don’t like it, but I get it.

What I can’t accept is that is the highest-paid softball coach in the country can’t hold his ego in check long enough to walk past this student-athlete that he felt was disrespecting him. He is the one that made it an issue. It’s not a huge shove, he didn’t take a swing at her, but for a coach to extend his hand at a student-athlete is wrong. And there needs to be a message sent to him that it is wrong.

Whether that message comes from Florida or from the SEC office, which has underlined the importance of sportsmanship in meetings with coaches and student-athletes throughout Greg Sankey’s two-year tenure as Commissioner, a message needs to be sent here. Sportsmanship is important. A coach never putting his hands on a student-athlete is more important.

Tim Walton dismissed Haley Fagan’s two sisters, all Florida natives, from the UF program for reasons that are still unclear. Both went on to have a great deal of success at other SEC schools. Now, Haley Fagan, once a UF commit, is concluding an outstanding career with Auburn and had a great moment in contributing to a hard-fought win over Walton and the Florida program that she grew up watching.

She had a special, emotional moment. Tim Walton robbed her of that because of his ego and his overwhelming urge to remind her and the rest of her family who was in charge. It’s wrong. He’s wrong. I hope someone finally stands up to him.

 

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