Letters to the Editor

Interview coach

September 30, 2009


To the editor:

Will somebody PLEASE get an interview tutor for the sports teams?

Is Henry Higgins available? KU needs the Kansas version of “My Fair Lady.” “Umm,” “I mean” and “ya know” only indicate that the speaker cannot think fast enough to put thoughts together.

These are intelligent young people, but that’s not how they sound.

This is not a black/white thing! These are young adults, attending a major university who should be able to speak properly and with authority. Where/how they grew up should not be an excuse. The interview with Collins, Taylor and Aldrich was painful to watch. Fellas, speak up, look the questioner in the eye, avoid clichés, enunciate and organize your thoughts before you speak. “But, they’re just kids,” some say. Nervous? Probably. After many Q&A sessions they should be able to handle butterflies much better.

What image of the KU athlete do we want shown on ESPN? Very few will be handed that NBA or NFL paycheck. They should possess the ability to navigate through a job interview like a pro.

Some positives: Stuckey, Reesing and Meier have done well on camera. Matt Kleinmann did a great job on Coach Self’s show during his senior year. Go back to Jacques Vaughn to see some good responses.

I’ve been on camera, done interviews and video. Many people helped me get better. Most of them don’t realize it. Someone needs to help these young men get better, not for us, but for themselves.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

"Will somebody PLEASE get an interview tutor for the sports teams?"

Or they could just take a public speaking course at KU, since they are enrolled students.

Bassetlover 5 years, 7 months ago

Amen to that! It is indeed painful to watch these interviews and the inability of so many athletes to convey thoughtful, articulate comments. Sadly, it doesn't seem to get much better with professional athletes either. Perhaps KU Athletics could hire a Public Speaking Czar?

mom_of_three 5 years, 7 months ago

Some people are just going to be nervous in front of the cameras, especially when they are confronting an awkward issue or question. No doubt they need to learn to speak correctly. However, if you are ever on a college campus, you will find that the "problem" in athletes is not limited to them.
There are very few students who can speak without using the words "like", "um", and "you know"
Lets just not limit correct speaking to in front of the camera.

Jimo 5 years, 7 months ago

It is unfortunate that these young men, so valued for their athletic ability, cannot also be valued for their articulateness, their mathematical proficiency, their pastry-making skills, & their knowledge of '80s trivia. Yes, it would be impressive that these athletes were polymaths but then what fools expect that, Nerds?

mr_right_wing 5 years, 7 months ago


This problem has ALWAYS existed in sports (including the NBA, NFL and MLB)

and it always will.

GardenMomma 5 years, 7 months ago

Yes, take a communication course. A public speech class was mandatory for graduation when I was in college.

Vince Brown 5 years, 7 months ago

I agree with mr_right_wing, but there will always be a drug problem, yet we keep fighting it anyway. There will always be prostitution, but we keep arresting hooker & johns. These young people need help. A class is a good idea, however, I think they need more attention than an instructor in a class of 20-30 students can give. One-on-one time with a tutor, just like with math, science, etc., is in order. Students speaking amongst their peers is one thing. Keep the jargon in that arena. Speaking as a representative of a major college sports team or simply as an intelligent college student is another matter entirely, especially when those responses go nationwide via internet and cable TV. Get them some help!

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