View Full Version : 10 Coaching Disasters-Fox Sports

07-22-2006, 03:02 PM
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Top 10 coaching disasters
Posted: 2 days ago
Sports franchises are like handmade Bentleys: They take years of focus and dedication to create, but a bad driver can destroy them all in seconds.

General managers spend endless hours carefully constructing a product that is primed for success. While the GM assembles the parts, the head coach gets into the driver's seat to steer the team.

But sometimes a coach floods the engine and sends a decent team sputtering down the road like a jalopy.

Here's a list of the 10 worst cases in which a coach got behind the wheel of a decent team, only to quickly crash it into a brick wall.

10. Larry Brown New York Knicks, 2005-06
Compiled record: 23-59

Larry Brown is the only coach in NBA history to have led seven teams to the playoffs, so when the Knicks made him the league's highest-paid coach ever, they expected him to lead a talented roster into the postseason. Instead, the Knicks went south in a hurry, finishing with 23 wins, their third-worst total in franchise history. The team was a public relations nightmare: Brown and a number of his players, notably point guard Stephon Marbury, jabbed back and forth through the media. A horrible season emphasized the squad's disarray; Brown's fickle playing-time tactics, such as 42 different starting lineups, were definitely part of the cause.

Fate: Due to his horrendous performance during his initial season with the team, Larry Brown was fired and replaced by Isiah Thomas during the Knicks' 2006 off-season.

9. Kevin Gilbride San Diego Chargers, 1997-98
Compiled record: 6-16

An important characteristic of a prodigious leader is his ability to handle adversity. Kevin Gilbride is not a prodigious leader. He took over a team that had not experienced a losing season in five straight years, but when quarterback Stan Humphries suffered a career-ending concussion in week eight, their season ended with eight straight losses. The following season, Gilbride replaced Humphries with Ryan Leaf. Although Gilbride is known as a quarterback guru, he was incapable of reaping any production out of Leaf.

Fate: Gilbride was promptly fired after a 2-4 start to the 1998 season. He became the offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 1999 and 2000 seasons. In 2004, Gilbride was hired as the quarterback coach for the New York Giants.

8. Art Howe New York Mets, 2003-05
Compiled record: 137-186

Art Howe couldn't find the same success he had in Oakland during his tenure in New York. (Bernie Nunez / Getty Images)

Coming from a small market team in Oakland with a bite-sized fan base, the Big Apple proved to be too much for Howe to chew. Known for his low-key personality, Howe replaced manager Bobby Valentine, who was his complete opposite and often got under the skin of many players. Howe was unaccustomed to immediate expectations his previous two stints in Oakland and Houston allowed him plenty of patience and support prior to success. In New York, time was of the essence, and 66 wins for a roster with the highest payroll in the National League simply didn't cut it.

Fate: His languid approach became the subject of scrutiny while the team only improved by five wins in his second year. Management planned to fire him at the end of the season. Despite the news leaking to the media with two weeks remaining, Howe stuck around to close out the rest of the season.

7. Dean Goldfine Andy Roddick, 2004-06
Compiled record: 62-15

Under the tutelage of Brad Gilbert, Andy Roddick was the next best thing to Roger Federer. After 18 months of being the best man at the wedding, Roddick wanted a coach to put him over the top. The hiring of Dean Goldfine served quite the opposite and Roddick's star power lost nearly all its luster. Roddick collected five minor titles under Goldfine and was the runner-up at Wimbledon in 2005, but disheartening defeats a loss to unseeded Jose Acasuso in the second round of the 2005 French Open, a first-round loss to the 70th-ranked Gilles Muller at the 2005 U.S. Open and another early exit to an unranked player at the 2006 Australian Open have taken Roddick out of the First Class of men's tennis. Roddick also lost his Reebok sponsorship in 2005.

Fate: Roddick and Goldfine decided to part ways after the 2006 Australian Open and Andy hired his brother, John, soon after.

6. Mike Nykoluk Toronto Maple Leafs, 1981-84
Compiled record: 74-129-37

If it ain't broke, why break it? Mike Nykoluk took over a Toronto Maple Leafs team that had made the playoffs for eight consecutive seasons and promptly ended that streak in his first season. In two of his three years as head coach, Nykoluk's Leafs finished fifth in the Norris Division and amassed no more than 68 points. The 56 points totaled in his first season were the lowest for the franchise since 1958. With only 28 regular-season wins, Nykoluk managed to guide the team to the playoffs once, but they were immediately swatted out during the first round.

Fate: For some reason, winning 39 percent of their games wasn't acceptable for the Maple Leafs and they fired Nykoluk in 1984.

5. Marty Mornhinweg Detroit Lions, 2001-02
Compiled record: 5-27

For a head coach to be successful, he must be respected and revered by his players. Marty Mornhinweg's consistent head-scratching moves, like his decision to kick away the football in sudden-death overtime after winning the coin flip, ensured that his credibility was limited. In the midst of his first season, when the team finished 2-14, Mornhinweg benched starting quarterback Charlie Batch after a mediocre game. Ty Detmer, backup QB, threw seven interceptions the following game, yet Mornhinweg authorized three more starts for Detmer that year. The Lions went on to win only five times in two years under Mornhinweg before the team had enough.

Fate: Mornhinweg's Lions were 3-13 in his second season before he was canned. The Philadelphia Eagles sought out his expertise in the West Coast offense and he is now an assistant head coach with the team.

4. Rick Pitino Boston Celtics, 1997-2001
Compiled record: 102-146

Coaching unpaid, obsequious college basketball players is one thing; trying to guide swollen-headed professionals is another. Rick Pitino can testify, as he experienced much success at the collegiate level, and then flopped in the NBA. When he took over the Celtics job, he was heralded as a savior and promised to return a gloried franchise to the playoffs in three years. Three and a half losing seasons and one emotional post-game tirade later, the Celtics proved to be too much of a headache for Pitino, while the playoffs remained far off in the distance.

Fate: The Celtics never topped 36 wins in a season under Pitino, and seeing no light at the end of the tunnel, he stepped down from the Celtics organization 34 games into the 2000-01 season. He has returned to college basketball as the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals.

3. Gerry Faust Notre Dame, 1981-85


Compiled record: 30-26-1

Faust, the learned German protagonist of several operas, was not a devil dodger, and Gerry Faust, a Notre Dame football head coach, couldn't shake any demons of his own. The latter Faust took over the Fighting Irish football program from Dan Devine, who resigned after a successful run. The hiring raised eyebrows as Faust was completely unproven outside of high-school football. After a couple of seasons, raised eyebrows changed to furrowed brows of concern. Faust claimed that he often didn't watch tapes of upcoming opponents' games and his team's lackluster performances reinforced that. Notre Dame topped out at seven wins under Faust, and for one of the most successful college football programs ever, that was far below par.

Fate: Faust's tenure ended with a resignation after a 58-7 thumping at the hands of Jimmie Johnson's Miami Hurricanes. He became the head coach of the Akron Zips for the next nine seasons, but did not accumulate a winning record.

2. Matt Doherty North Carolina, 2000-03
Compiled record: 53-46

The North Carolina Tar Heels are synonymous with success in college basketball. When Bill Guthridge resigned and passed the torch to former Tar Heel Matt Doherty, the move seemed picture perfect. It was smooth sailing in Doherty's first year, as he inherited a team that had journeyed to the Final Four five times in the last eight years; he led them to 26 wins. But a second-round exit in the NCAA tournament foreboded harsh times. In his second season, friction started to mount in the locker room and rumor had it that it stemmed from the coach. Disaster struck as the Tar Heels won only eight games, their lowest amount ever. To put that in perspective, the Tar Heels had not won less than 18 games since 1970. Some players transferred and others went over Doherty's head to set up meetings and complain about their coach. It was clear that the end was near.

Fate: Doherty felt the pressure to resign and did so after an unspectacular 19-16 record in his third and final season in Chapel Hill. He spent time as an analyst for ESPN, and then coached Florida Atlantic for one season before taking the head coaching job at Southern Methodist in 2006.

1. Rich Kotite New York Jets, 1995-96

Rich Kotite was a total bust in New York. (Rick Stewart / Getty Images)

Compiled record: 4-28

Anthony Robbins says: "There is no such thing as failure. There are only results." Leon Hess, one-time owner of the New York Jets, might beg to differ. At the inaugural press conference for Rich Kotite, Hess stated: "I'm 80 years old. I want results now!" Unfortunately, Hess got more failure than results, as Kotite proved to be a disastrous hire for Gang Green.

In two seasons, the Jets totaled four wins and had the esteemed honor of being the NFL's worst team both times. Kotite was a failure right from the get-go. In a week-five matchup against the Raiders, Kotite assigned undrafted free agent quarterback-converted-cornerback Vance Joseph the impossible task of covering Pro Bowl wide receiver Tim Brown. Final score: 47-10. The following week, Kotite decided to shake up his offensive line and pit virgin left tackle Everett McIver against Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith. Results: Jets QB Boomer Esiason is leveled by Smith and concussed while the Jets lose 29-10. During the Kotite era, the trademark J-E-T-S chant stood for Just End The Season.

Fate: Kotite resigned at the end of the 1996 season and has not coached in the NFL in any capacity since.

Ready ... set ... hut
With leadership comes responsibility. Some head coaches are incapable of weathering adversity and end up leading their team into a car wreck. Those who can handle the hurdles, though, often are the driving force behind their team's success.


07-22-2006, 11:32 PM
5. Marty Mornhinweg Detroit Lions, 2001-02
Compiled record: 5-27

For a head coach to be successful, he must be respected and revered by his players. Marty Mornhinweg's consistent head-scratching moves, like his decision to kick away the football in sudden-death overtime after winning the coin flip, ensured that his credibility was limited.

:lol :lol

07-22-2006, 11:43 PM
The Knicks had a talented roster?