There was a time when professional sports coaching held in New York and New Jersey attracted top candidates of all kinds.
they came from everywhere. A young coach with big ambitions. Mid-level assistants looking for big shots and experienced first-rate coaches who have already made their mark in the sport.
It all changed.
Best coach candidates no longer have New York and New Jersey at the top of their wishlists, as the New York Knicks’ sacking of David Fizdale is beginning to prove.
Consider this: Missing Fizdale, our area’s oldest coach is Kenny Atkinson of the Brooklyn Nets.
And he’s been off the sidelines in Brooklyn for just 3.5 seasons.
Besides Aaron Boone, who won the World Series in two seasons as manager of the New York Yankees. Atkinson patiently executing a blueprint for Nets success. New York Islanders guard Barry Trotts has a Stanley Cup title on his resume, but he doesn’t have many options.
The Knicks and New Jersey Devils now have interim coaches. The New York Giants and New York Jets have coaches Pat Schulmer and Adam Gase who have lost more than they won.
The New York Mets have a manager, Carlos Beltran, who has yet to make a lineup card. The New York Rangers have David Quinn still learning the ropes in his second year. In football, Chris Armas moved to New York in his second season as coach for the Red Bulls, with New York City FC looking for a coach.
Ah, the days of Red Holtzman, Pat Riley, Kevin Raffaly, Joe Torre, Davey Johnson, Bill Parcells, Tom Coughlin.
Let’s take a look at the recent factors that might scare good coaches from moving here.
form of ownership
See James Dolan. Owners of the Knicks, Rangers and Madison Square Garden are always willing to spend to improve their rosters. But there’s more to being an owner that attracts people.
Doran’s unqualified Yes Men completely dropped the ball last week by letting go of Fizdale. After getting him to practice on Friday and meeting with the media afterwards, they made his firing public later in the day.
Compassion is not always the owners’ forte in this town.
split front office
Not all general managers and head coaches agree on signing and drafting players.
And that can cause rifts between people within the franchise.
Gus complains that the Jets wouldn’t have spent so much money on bringing back Le’Veon Bell. It is a movement.
There are now whispers that Gasset has cut back on the number of plays he requires for Bell.
General managers tend to get fired before head coaches, though not always.
Often it depends on who has the owner’s ears.
it’s also in the players
No kidding, players are still the most important factor in any rebuild project. Coaches need talent to bring their plans to life.
Coaches have a history with their players, for better or worse. A good coach resolves differences. Otherwise, the bad coach will be considered a failure.
Prominent coaches shun them until the New York and New Jersey teams upgrade their talent bases.
Media influence is often grossly exaggerated as a convenient excuse for coaches not meeting their goals.
Media affect the player differently. The media, especially those in big cities like New York, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles, aren’t cheerleaders like small college towns.
Many coaches and players don’t want to literally scream their faults in the headlines of big city tabloids.
Imagine my shock when I turned on the sports talk radio for the first time.
dim the lights
The fast-paced New York and New Jersey lifestyle isn’t for all coaches and players. Many would rather stay out of the spotlight.
The late Gene Michael once told me how he tried to acquire then-Chicago Cubs free agent pitcher Greg Maddox in December 1992. Michael was the Yankees’ general manager at the time. , and they looked comfortable.
With the Cubs and Braves, Maddux won four consecutive Cy Young Awards from 1992-95.
Yet Maddox chose the Atlanta Braves on his way to a Hall of Fame career that winter, despite receiving a higher offer from the Yankees.
Any team looking to hire a quality head coach for New York-New Jersey should keep this in mind.