Job security doesn’t come easy for NBA coaches
AFP 6/15/2013 8:45:39 PM
When Erik Spoelstra was playing college basketball at the University of Portland he decided to tell his father that he would one day like to become a basketball coach.
Perhaps Spoelstra’s father knew something that Erik didn’t — that NBA head coaches are hired to be fired.
Both Miami Heat coach Spoelstra and Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs say the lack of job security for NBA head coaches is a troubling trend and sometimes more about impatient ownership than it is about poor coaching.
Of the league’s 30 teams, a dozen will have new coaches next season, including the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies.
Spoelstra’s Heat are facing the Spurs in the NBA finals with the series tied 2-2. Pivotal game five is on Sunday at AT&T Center arena in San Antonio.
Popovich, 64, said the high turnover rate is disturbing and some owners make the mistake of taking losing personally and then go looking for a scapegoat.
Popovich, whose father is of Serbian and his mother Croatian descent, has been a basketball coach for the past 40 years. He has coached the Spurs since 1996 and has four championship rings 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007.
Popovich is third all-time in playoff wins and first among active coaches. He has won more playoff games with one team than anyone in NBA history.
The sometimes surly Popovich, known to cut interviews with reporters short if he doesn’t like the line of questioning, spoke at length on Friday about the difficult job of coaching.
But Popovich said he doesn’t draw much on his wealth of experience when addressing his team, which boasts a core of veteran players who have won four titles and and have plenty of playoff experience.