Myth-Making 101: Pastner ‘Never Tried Caffeine’?

The ASSOCIATED PRESS has the latest piece celebrating the obscene devotion of Memphis hoops coach Josh Pastner to his job. Like you, I’ve heard too many stories about Pastner’s fastidious approach to coaching, but something new caught my eye in the AP profile.

(So no granola, cereal or fat-free frozen yogurt ever? Amazing!)

Pastner, the new Memphis coach, says he has never sipped alcohol, smoked a cigarette, tried caffeine or drunk a soda. He is no goody two-shoes; he is just the coaching equivalent of a gym rat.

“He’s always said he would want to tell his players if he wants to be a role model for his players, he would want to make sure what he told them, he lived so he decided never to drink alcohol, and we never gave him soda,” Hal Pastner said.

The last person touting something like that was Todd Marinovich, who most recently was busted for meth while skateboarding as a 40-something in Orange County.

Josh Pastner, thanks to his own relentless self-promotion to the media, might be the most written-about, first-year college hoops coach in history. Call me a cynic, but I’m very dubious of all that he has to claimed media lap dogs over the years.

Josh Castner has reportedly “never tried caffeine”. Buying it?

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A clue why I think Pastner is a serial exaggerator came from a single, seemingly innocuous claim thrown into the AP piece:

he (Pastner) has never sipped alcohol, smoked a cigarette, tried caffeine or drunk a soda.

First, understand that most likely Pastner is the one who gave that description to the AP writer.

From it we learn that Pastner’s never “tried caffeine“? Perhaps that was meant in a beverage context, but caffeine is present in countless foods we all ingest, sometimes unknowningly.

Examples: Granola bars, cereal and frozen yogurt.

My point here is that it’s nearly impossible as a functioning human for Pastner to have not ingested caffeine at some point in at least scant amounts, yet he makes it a point of emphasis to the AP reporter. Why? To continue to build the myth of his complete and utter devotion to a sober lifestyle. That in turn reflects on his coaching acumen on and off-the-court.

Not saying Pastner is a liar, perhaps he really does believe he’s never tried caffeine. But someone who makes a claim like that is not living in reality, and clues us in to his propensity to exaggerate about himself.

That in turn tells me there’s more than likely other things Pastner has exaggerated about. Doesn’t mean he won’t be a great coach. On the contrary, he’s already got the media doing his bidding, which is crucial to recruiting and fan perception.