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Postgame handshakes good form, or unnecessary?

JIM HARBAUGH vs. JIM SCHWARTZ — Big 12 football coaches weighed in on the postgame confrontation between Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz.
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, Modified: October 18, 2011 at 9:12 am •  Published: October 18, 2011

Texas coach Mack Brown is a likable, loquacious man. However, when a football game is over, he has little interest in shaking hands or idle chitchat with the opposing coach.

"I've been a proponent of not shaking hands after the game for a long time," Brown admitted Monday during the Big 12's weekly coaches teleconference. "Some coaches don't like each other to start with, so you have to walk down there and tell him 'good luck' before the game, and you don't want to. After a game, some guy may have run up the score, (or) some guy gets beat on the last second.

"I have felt for a long time those TV cameras love it because they run and get right in the face hoping somebody's going to mess it up."

On Sunday afternoon in Detroit, two NFL head coaches messed up.

Following his team's 25-19 victory at Detroit on Sunday, San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh ran across Ford Field, gave Lions coach Jim Schwartz a hard handshake with his right hand, a slap on the back with his left hand and then bolted toward the exit.

An ecstatic Harbaugh admitted he was over-exuberant during the exchange. "That's totally on me," Harbaugh said. "I shook his hand too hard."

After losing for the first time in 13 games (including preseason), an incensed Schwartz ran to catch Harbaugh. The coaches had to be separated, and the players eventually restored order while standing in the end zone near a tunnel.

Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville didn't like what he saw.

"It shouldn't happen like that," Tuberville said. "It's not called for because it's all about sportsmanship and teaching younger kids that see this on TV, that see it happen. It's embarrassing for this profession to see something like that happen."

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said he has become "pretty good friends" with Harbaugh through the years.

"He was just real emotional at that point," Pinkel said. "I think what we all try to do is we try to gather our emotions before we go shake hands. I've always tried to do that, and I don't think it was anything disrespectful that he (Harbaugh) did. I just think he was caught up in the moment, and it got out of hand a little bit. I'm glad it didn't go any further. I think that's the respectful thing to do as competitors. I just think we saw some emotion, and people are going to have a lot of fun playing with it this week."

There also was a coaching confrontation in the college ranks Saturday when Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham had a heated exchange with Vanderbilt coach James Franklin following the Bulldogs' 33-28 victory in Nashville, Tenn.

Grantham pointed his finger in Franklin's face and the two had to be separated by a law enforcement officer and Vanderbilt tight end Austin Monahan.

Grantham said Franklin "degraded" a Georgia player.

Neither Oklahoma's Bob Stoops nor Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy has had a postgame handshake incident as a head coach, although Stoops' exchange with former OSU coach Les Miles after the 2003 Bedlam game was a memorable moment.

Miles got Stoops' attention with some comments leading up to that year's Nov. 1 contest between the No. 1-ranked Sooners and the No. 14-ranked Cowboys.

* "They're the best team in college football ... we're told," Miles said after his team's 38-10 victory at Texas A&M the week before facing OU.

* "Next Saturday, two teams are going to play. One is maybe the best team in college football and the other one is a darn good football team. We're going to play to figure out which one is which," Miles said two days later during his weekly news conference.

The Sooners thrashed the Cowboys 52-9 on Owen Field. Stoops and Miles cordially shook hands afterward, but when Miles attempted to have a brief conversation, Stoops walked away.

"I just said, 'Good game,' and started to walk off," Stoops explained afterward. "He grabbed me and said, 'I guess we found out who the No. 1' ... I didn't listen. 'I guess we found out who the No. 1 team was.' Or something. I just heard part of it. I was halfway gone."

Stoops said he didn't care who Miles thought was No. 1.

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There aren't many documented confrontations during postgame handshakes between coaches, perhaps because inflammatory comments usually are mumbled under a coach's breath.

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz had a well-documented exchange Sunday.

Harbaugh is no stranger to such things. He has had multiple incidents as a player and coach:

- As a Chicago Bears quarterback in 1992, Harbaugh called an audible at the line of scrimmage with the Bears ahead 20-0. The play resulted in an interception returned for a touchdown against the Vikings and led to a sideline confrontation between Harbaugh and Bears head coach Mike Ditka. Harbaugh was under strict orders not to audible inside the Metrodome. That play sparked the Vikings to a 21-20 comeback victory.

- As an Indianapolis Colts quarterback in 1997, Harbaugh missed several weeks after breaking his hand in an altercation with former Bills quarterback and then-NBC TV analyst Jim Kelly, who publicly questioned Harbaugh's heart and toughness.

- As coach of the Stanford Cardinal in 2009, Harbaugh beat USC 55-21 at the Los Angeles Coliseum. After the game, Harbaugh and then-Trojans coach Pete Carroll met at midfield and exchanged words. Harbaugh had attempted a two-point conversion late in the game. Carroll looked at Harbaugh and asked, “What's your deal?” Harbaugh shot back, “What's YOUR deal?”

Some other notable postgame incidents:

- After a 2003 game in Starkville, Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill and Memphis coach Tommy West got into a verbal confrontation after Sherrill told West, “Tell Joe Lee I'm glad he wrote it down on his calendar.” As the men walked away, West turned around, pointed his right finger and shouted at Sherrill, “Hey, that's (expletive).” The men eventually got nose to nose before West walked away. Sherrill had dismissed defensive coordinator Joe Lee Dunn the previous season, and Dunn was hired at Memphis.

- Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley refused to shake hands with Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels last season following Denver's 49-29 victory at home against the Chiefs. McDaniels continued to throw late in the fourth quarter and left starters in the game despite leading 49-17. Haley wagged his finger and scolded McDaniels. Haley later apologized and allowed the "emotions of the situation" to take over.

- Haley also had a run-in with Harbaugh's brother, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, during a 31-13 preseason victory over the Chiefs last August. Haley was upset the Ravens threw a 38-yard pass with 1:18 left. Harbaugh apologized after the game, explaining he wanted his reserves to have an opportunity to show what they could do. “I think he (Haley) said something like, ‘I don't know about that,'” Harbaugh said. “I understood and I just said, ‘Preseason, preseason for the young guys.' He said, ‘OK.'”

- After a 42-0 loss to Ohio State on Sept. 3, 2011, Akron coach Rob Ianello criticized new Buckeyes coach Luke Fickell at midfield about his sportsmanship for leaving a running back in the game to gain 100 yards. “I don't think that's real good sportsmanship, but good luck the rest of the year,” Ianello told Fickell. It was Fickell's first game as OSU head coach.

The all-time confrontation occurred Feb. 13, 1994, in men's college basketball between Temple coach John Chaney and Massachusetts coach John Calipari.

- Chaney was upset that Calipari, after the emotional 56-55 UMass victory at the Mullins Center, was critical of the three game officials as they left the floor. Witnesses said they heard Calipari tell the officials they would never officiate a game at UMass again.

Chaney was composed during his postgame news conference, but as Calipari spoke during his interview session, Chaney suddenly appeared in the back of the room.

Chaney: “Could I say this to you, please? You've got a good ballclub, but what you did with the officials out there is wrong, and I don't want to be a party to that. You understand?”

Calipari: “You weren't out there, Coach. You don't have any idea.”

Chaney: “You got a game given to you by officials right here with G.W. (George Washington) on three bad calls, OK? Then you send your kids out there pushing and shoving. You had the best officiating you could ever get here. And for you to ride them, I don't want to be a party to that."

Chaney then said he had been "blasted" for similar criticism of the officials in a game against West Virginia. He also praised the three officials who worked the game, saying: "Good job. Three class guys. And you single them out."

Calipari: "Coach, coach. I'm going to tell you something."

Chaney: "Shut up."

Chaney quickly moved toward the front of the room at Calipari. UMass guard Mike Williams stood between the coaches and security soon stepped in.

Chaney: "I'll kill your (expletive) ass. You remember that. I'll kick your ass. Kick your ass."

Chaney apologized and was suspended for one game.


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