Thursday, June 22, 2006

Three firings, two mistakes and good advice gone awry

In life, there are many lessons to be learned every day. Those lessons start at a young age with sage advice from your family. One of the pieces of advice that I still carry with me is to never forget where you came from.

You think Larry Brown wished he hadn't remembered he was from New York today? It's where he was born and bred. The New York Knicks were his "dream job." Mind you, when speaking of Brown, I use "dream job" loosely because he has had many of those in the past and still kept on moving on.

He burnt the bridge in Detroit in order to return home, so I don't feel for the man. He had coached in two straight NBA finals and had a chance for more, but he wasn't happy. The situation wasn't good enough. He wanted more.

He was paid 10 million or so for the one year and will have to fight to get the other 40 million he is owed, because the Knicks are refusing to pay him. He never should have left Detroit.

That being said, let's get to the root of the problem, the Knicks general manager and new head coach Isiah Thomas must have some kind of pictures or something on the owner of the Knicks James Dolan. If you want to fire them both - you sure as heck would have had no argument from anyone. However, if you are going to fire one person, Dolan chose poorly.

Who built this 125 million dollar mess? Isiah.

Who hired Larry Brown? Isiah.

Who has never won a title in a management/coaching position? Isiah.

In Brown's two previous worst seasons, his next year he took his team to the playoffs. Have you done that once Isiah, nevermind twice?

In the movie Forget Paris, Billy Crystal's father-in-law is visiting him and is repeating all the billboards he sees as they drive. The line all of us should share this year with Dolan and Isiah is from there, "You asked for it, you got it ... "

A long time ago, when the New York Football Giants were horrendous in the 70s there was a Monday night game at the Meadowlands. I forget who they were playing, but they were getting killed at the half. All of a sudden, a banner drops from the upper deck. It said (former owner Wellington) Mara, (former GM George) Young, (former coach Ray) Perkins - How do you sleep at night? Mr. Dolan, we can ask you the exact same question. But I guarantee you, Larry Brown will sleep well at night for a little bit, until he takes another job.

Another piece of advice I remember was no matter how well you do, be good to the people on the way up, because you will see them again on the way down.

Got a call from a friend today to let me know that two other friends of mine who worked with the University of Wisconsin hockey team were "reassigned" within the University.

The two of them have spent over 20 years each involved with the team and they had just come off winning their first National Championship since 1989-90. So things should be peachy, right?

A former Badger player, Mike Eaves, took over the job from Jeff Sauer in 2002-03. In short order, he has turned the program back around and is king of the world in Madison. He has worked very hard to distance himself from the Sauer Era.

There are many in the Badger family who are upset with him for that as well as the fact that there are many who think Mark Johnson should have been the head coach instead of him.

Love him or hate him - the man can recruit and coach. Period.

The problem is that these people posed no threat to you, Mike. They were hired by someone else, but stayed loyal to you throughout all of their time there. They LOVE Wisconsin hockey and the University and this was just downright disgusting. It was tasteless and classless and they deserved a lot better from someone who knows what it's like to bleed Wisconsin red.

Odds are Eaves will win another National title soon enough and pick up and take his ego and game to the pro level. Odds are he will probably do well there. The difference is that everyone in the NHL knows that they are hired to be fired.

I know that's a long way away for you to think, Mike. But be careful of the bridges you burn now ... before there are no bridges left for you to get across.

Just another lesson I learned a long, long time ago.... (or was it, what comes around, goes around....)

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