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Dulcet Tones: Assessing the Microphone Skills of the AAC’s Men’s Basketball Coaches

From the honeysuckle to the orotund, this conference has some real Toastmasters.

NIT Season Tip-Off Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The American Athletic Conference’s men’s basketball coaching fraternity is a murderer’s row of Toastmasters. I learned this while watching the recent AAC men’s basketball tournament. I watched all 10 post-game press conferences. All 11 of the coaches in this esteemed, geographically sensible conference is a master of public speaking. I took notes and I made another critically-acclaimed list, assessing the mic skills of the men’s basketball coaches in the American.

11. Brian Gregory, USF: The former Georgia-Tech-headman-turned-brand-new-South-Florida-Bulls-head-coach has never spoken before. He gets an incomplete for the semester.

10. Johnny Dawkins, UCF: Simultaneously adenoidal and disembodied, Johnny Dawkins sounds like the Wizard of Oz when he gets behind a microphone.

9. Kevin Ollie, UConn: His attempts to sound stentorian at press conferences come off as matter-of-fact and smug.

8. Frank Haith, Tulsa: The dulcet tones of Frank Haith are an acquired taste. A bit on the throaty side, Haith has apparently never seen someone speak into a microphone on television. Or he is a Grade A germaphobe. This fella sits an arm’s length away from the mic at every post-game presser.

7. Tubby Smith, Memphis: Has developed this sotto voce approach to public speaking to compensate for years of coaching strain on his vocal chords.

6. Mick Cronin, Cincinnati: Not to be confused with Kevin Cronin, Reo Speedwagon’s taut-voiced frontman. Coach Cronin has the quintessential hoarse, citified tone of a 21st century college basketball coach. He is well suited to post-game press conferences. He gives adequate but never stunning answers to reporters’ questions.

5. Jeff Lebo, East Carolina: Not classically handsome, but boy-oh-boy does he have one whale of a voice. The orotund sounds that come out of his mouth are perfect for calling a high school assembly back to order. This man was born to be a vice principal.

4. Tim Jankovich, SMU: The Mustangs’ head coach might be Cars’ lead singer Ric Ocasek. When asked a question, he often responds by saying “Life’s the same, I’m moving in stereo” in a tremulous monotone.

3. Kelvin Sampson, Houston: Speaks with a Taylor Dayne “Love Will Lead You Back” breathiness. One of the most seductive voices in the AAC.

2. Mike Dunleavy, Tulane: A man’s man, Mike Dunleavy communicates largely through song. His guttural and gruff register has caused Rammstein’s Till Lindemann to seek out a linguistic safe space on two non-consecutive occasions.

1. Fran Dunphy, Temple: “Eyes goanup del-uh-weer ahyv wit jawn looking ferde roah hoahme offus ant in Fishtown on YeasBerks. Her spiggit broahk and deres wooder alls oahver daflower. She’s hungry too so we sayster jeet? We sayster less get a hoahgie downitde Wawa on Aramingoah, throw back a few yingees, engo downyshore err uptapoahcanoahs.” – Fran Dunphy, March 1, 2017, when asked about the Owls’ chances in the AAC Tournament.

As always, this is a work of parody and not intended to be taken seriously. For more of the same, follow me on Twitter: @ClaytonTrutor