Star-to-coach move has risks
BY SCOTT FONTANA firstname.lastname@example.org
If Jason Kidd and Mark Messier get their way, each man could be coaching the team he led to its greatest recent success next season. Both the Nets, who Kidd led to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances a decade ago, and the Rangers, who Messier captained to the team's only Stanley Cup championship in the past 70 years, have coaching vacancies, and Kidd and Messier have reportedly expressed interest in the jobs. History has shown that hiring a franchise legend to guide the team can lead to awkward exits. Here are a couple such examples and their results.
Berra became the Yankees skipper immediately after his retirement from playing in pinstripes. The 10-time World Series champion as a player appeared to be on his way to carrying over his winning magic when he guided the Yankees to the 1964 World Series. That team lost in seven games to the Cardinals, however, and Berra was fired following his first season at the helm.
After a stint as Mets manager, he served as a Yankees coach from 1976-83 and returned as manager in 1984 to lead the team to an 87-75 record, third-best in the American League. However, Berra was fired again after a 6-10 start the following year that caused a long-standing rift with George Steinbrenner.
Managerial record with
Titles: 1964 AL PennantWILLIS REED
Reed forever cemented his legacy when the Hall of Famer emerged from the locker room at Madison Square Garden in Game 7 of the 1969 NBA Finals to play on an injured leg, emotionally sparking the Knicks to their first championship.
Given his ability to motivate on that day, it seemed a natural fit for the center to transition to the sidelines. The Knicks hired him three years after his final game for the team. He guided the team to a second-place finish in the Atlantic Division in his first season, 1977-78, and a two-game sweep of the Knicks' first-round playoff opponents, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
That was as far as the Knicks got under Reed. The 76ers won four straight in the next round, and he stepped down after a 6-8 start to the following season. His reason for leaving at the time was reported as due to a lack of support from Knicks' brass.
Coaching record with the Knicks: 49-47