After losing to Maryland 78-72 last Thursday, Louisville women’s basketball coach Jeff Walz went on a post-game rant, railing against the generation of kids currently cycling through college basketball.
“Right now, the generation of kids that are coming through, everybody gets a damn trophy,” Walz said. “You finish last, you come home with a trophy. You kidding me? What’s that teach your kids? It’s okay to lose. No, that’s not the way it works, but unfortunately, that’s what we are preparing for. Because you finish fifth, you walk home with this nice trophy and parents are all excited? No. Not to be too blunt, but you’re a loser. We’re losers. We got beat. There is no trophy for us.”
Walz, not surprisingly, has gotten a lot of attention for his comments.
“Well, there was a question before that about our effort,” Walz recalled on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I just said we have to improve our effort, and one reporter (said), ‘I noticed a few of the opposing players were running past your kids in transition. At what point in time do you recognize that?’ I really didn’t have an answer for him because when somebody’s running past you, if you can’t recognize that, we’ve got problems. And we just kind of went on from there.
“To me, losing, you can learn a lot from it, but it’s got to mean something to you. That’s when I said we lost the game and we’re losers. It doesn’t mean you’re a loser in life. It doesn’t mean you’re a loser as a person. But you lost the game, and you’ve got to be able to walk away and go, ‘Hey, I lost the game. I am a loser of that game. What am I going to do to change?’ Unfortunately, I just feel – and it’s my opinion – that we’ve desensitized losing.”
Walz has coached Louisville to six Sweet 16s, two Elite Eights and two Final Fours. In fact, he guided his team to the national title game in 2013. Louisville lost to Connecticut, 93-60.
Walz, 45, has four kids ranging in age from 1 to 11. His older children have played in soccer and basketball leagues that don’t keep score.
That bothers Walz – and many other people – a great deal.
“It’s okay to get beat as long as you’re giving great effort,” he said. “In order to prepare for the future, you have to learn to accept failure at times and not be happy with it.”