“So it wasn’t that winning was foreign to me,’’ Cutaia says. “It was that over time I saw how destructive it was to the players to hear how important winning a game was. It’s not new for coaches to tell their players that the most important thing is that they build character and learn to grow up. But that always comes with a wink and a nod that sends a message that winning is still important. It is a distraction, if you think about the fact that the vast majority of college athletes - 99 percent - will never play professionally or be paid to play.’’
The outrage was visceral last spring when ESPN aired the damning video showing Rutgers men’s basketball coach Mike Rice shoving his players, hurling gay slurs and throwing basketballs at their heads. He was fired as a result, along with Rutgers’s athletic director, faulted for not responding more forcefully when first presented with the footage...
If there’s a takeaway from the ugly episode, Diana Cutaia, founder of Coaching Peace Consulting, hopes it awakens athletes to their right to “push back” against extreme tactics and persuades athletic directors to intervene when coaches simply rage rather than instruct.
“It’s scary to be an 18-year-old and be in a situation where your college coach has national attention, is very powerful,” Cutaia said. “You’re going to go and say, ‘He dropped the F-bomb on me three times,’ and most likely somebody’s going to say, ‘Suck it up!’ But that child has every right to say, ‘I don’t deserve to be treated this way.’”
Parke says that Diana Cutaia, founder of Coaching Peace, has also played a crucial role at Lakeridge. The school district brought Cutaia to Lake Oswego from the Boston area following an investigation in December 2014 that concluded there had been a culture of hazing and bullying at Lakeridge High. Poor sportsmanship during past football games had also caused concern.
In developing a new vision statement, this NCAA Division III athletic department decided to measure success in a unique way.
When I became Director of Athletics at Wheelock College seven years ago, I was given a chance to nurture a very small athletic program. At that time, Wheelock only had five sports, all for women, but was looking to expand, including adding men's teams to ensure gender equity.