Personal responsibility may be coming back in vogue among American coaches.
After dropping a 21-14 contest for last weekend's collegiate championship, David Smyth acknowledged BYU's gameplan had fallen short. Brenden Keane, whose Charlotte Catholic team lost its semifinal match to Xavier in overtime and consolation game against Gonzaga in the final minutes, went further by saying 'I did a poor job of preparing the boys for how to close games out'.
This ethic of accountability is refreshing, particularly in an academic environment where students may carry sporting lessons to other walks of life.
At the end of last decade, as foreign pounds and experts flooded into the US, it grew fashionable to assign players sole responsibility for the outcome of matches. Captains (or 'shot callers') made poor decisions, plays were not properly executed, and the team on the field otherwise 'failed to fire'. There was no discussion of what the coach or staff could have improved.
American mentors, whether leading professional or amateur teams, very rarely speak of losses in this way. They are far more likely to sound like this quote from the New England Patriots' Bill Belichik, clipped at the time of the 2007 World Cup: 'I think we can do a better job of coaching and get those things straightened out.'
Before last weekend's finals got underway, several coaches with previous championships to their name suggested that while they hoped the team played well, winning ugly would be preferable to losing, because it would mean more to their charges.
Long since, American athletes have demonstrated they needn't be paid to compete as professionals. Coaches who put their players first accelerate this dynamic.