Volume 96, Issue 68
Thursday, January 30, 2003

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Hirings and firings

By Jordan Bell, Ryan Dixon and Benjamin Mills
Gazette Staff

It has been a trend in sport for decades: when a team starts losing, the head coach gets canned. The onus to win has been lifted off the athletes' shoulders and placed upon the coach's – but what if the team just plain, old sucks (ˆ la the Cincinnati Bungles)? In lieu of the recent coaching moves in various professional sports, The Gazette sports icons wreslted with the following question:

What are some of the best (and worst) coaching moves in the history of sports?

(Editor's note: fellow sports editor Ryan Hickman fell victim to alcohol abuse and was unable to attend the roundtable discussion, so in his place is managing editor Ryan Dixon, who has been known to enjoy a drink or two, as well.)

Mills: The Steve Mariucci firing by San Francisco was a good move. When he refused to call a play and let the clock run out at the end of the first half of the San Francisco/Tampa Bay playoff game, he basically signed his death certificate. Make way for Bill Walsh – I can dream, can't I?

Bell: Hubie Brown being hired by the Memphis Grizzlies. Sometimes you have to go out on a limb in order to spark your team, which Brown has done, and now the Griz' are reaping the benefits of hiring a coach who's off the beaten path and has been for God knows how long.

Dixon: Cost of a 30-second commercial spot for the Super Bowl: $2.5 million. Picking up head coach Jon Gruden: $8 million and two first and second-round draft picks. Wiping the floor with your former team to win the Super Bowl: Priceless.

Mills: I think the Detroit Lions made a mistake by firing Marty Mornhinweg. Lions quarterback Joey Harrington is accustomed to the west-coast offense, which was Mornhinweg's forté, seeing as he learned the system in San Fran', and Marty is an offensive tactician who eventually would have molded Harrington into Pro Bowl'er.

Bell: Bringing Jim O'Brien up from Ohio State to coach the Boston Celtics has done wonders for them. Maybe now they can forget about all that money wasted on Rick Pitino – speaking of bad coaching moves...

Dixon: As a Habs fan, I've witnessed a few questionable hirings in the past few years, but the appointment of Mario "pas de experience" Tremblay in 1995 was, quite possibly, the most embarrassing moment in franchise history. Had I known their hiring policies, I would have applied.

Mills: How about Scotty Bowman going anywhere? He won nine of Lord Stanley's cups with three teams (Dixon's Habs, Detroit and Pittsburgh) and is a hockey encyclopedia. Basically, everything he touches turns to gold – or should I say silver.


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