How Old is Too Old? You Make Your Case and You Stay Or Go….

College football coach Steve Spurrier said today on the ESPN pre-game show that he would stop coaching before he was in his 70s.  He said he could never be a “figurehead” football coach like Joe Paterno at Penn State or Bobby Bowden at Florida State who both “let their assistant coaches do everything.”

Spurrier in March 2007
Spurrier, head coach of the University of South Carolina football team.

I was taken aback by what, to me, seemed an insult from Spurrier to the older men.  But I am not a rabid football fan any longer and somewhat detached from the sports news.

Apparently Bowden and Paterno have taken a lot of heat and grief for their age, longevity and fading football glory.

Greg Stoda of the Palm Beach Post wrote on September 26, “Bowden should have been escorted out the door a few years ago surrounded by garnet-and-gold pomp and circumstance for all the glory he has brought the Seminoles. Instead, he’s wandering in the wilderness in his 33rd season at Florida State after warm-up acts at Samford and West Virginia.”

Joe Paterno has suffered similar attacks.

I say if the coach is breathing, enjoys his work and can convince a school that he is important to have in their program then that is between the coach and the school.  Oldster John McCain couldn’t convince voters to elect him but apparently Paterno and Bowden have made their cases successfully so far.

It should be all about performace and never about age.

But we do seem to live in an American culture that dismisses older people quickly; and often too quickly.  My Asian relatives and friends respect, hold close and love their elders much better and longer than many Americans and would never think of sending Mom or dad to a nursing home.  My 90 year old Grandmother makes the food, shops, does laundry and has a bunch of household jobs she would never surrender.

An Ethiopian friend said when he gets older he’ll return to Ethiopia where the older men are respected and not rejected…..

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