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Saturday, February 26, 2005

Mike Montgomery At Golden State

He can't say that we didn't warn him.



Montgomery had a Top 25 if not Top 10 program at Stanford.

He traded that record in for a rich payday, but, unfortunately, that's about it.

Which goes to show you that the old Whitey Herzog adage holds true. (For those in the blogosphere who don't remember him, Herzog was the outstanding manager for the Kansas City Royals in the day when they were one of the preeminent teams in the American League and had a player named George Brett -- the 1970's). When asked about the difference a major league manager makes, Herzog said something to the effect of, "If you give me horsebleep talent with a great manager and great talent with a horsebleep manager, I'll bet on the horsebleep manager every time."

Now before you jump on me about how much more of a difference a hoops coach can make than a baseball manager, the point still holds true. If you don't have the players, it doesn't matter who the coach is. Rick Pitino and John Calipari learned that, and even Larry Brown has felt that pain at times during his career.

As Mike Montgomery is feeling now.

Coach, the Stanford job may not be open, but some Top 50 college jobs could well open up this off-season. If you want to reconsider, there are probably plenty of college programs that would welcome you with open arms.


Blogger Corey said...

There's got to be a Division I school for him...Maybe Temple if Chaney.

1:10 AM  
Blogger SportsProf said...

Thanks, Corey. Temple might not be the job it was say 15 years ago, and Montgomery strikes me as a west of the Rockies kind of guy. Even within that construct, he probably could find a welcoming job. Of course, he's a tough competitor, and I doubt he'll give up his pro perch anytime soon.

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Dave said...

Go to Charlottesville, Mike!

12:15 PM  
Blogger SportsProf said...

Great thought, Dave. That would be an excellent spot for him. But doesn't Pete Gillen have a lot of years left on his contract, making a potential buyout very expensive for UVA?

9:07 PM  
Blogger Amateur said...

I hope you are right and Mr. Montgomery sticks with it.

Any time you go from the minors to the "big leagues" -- in any job -- you are going to realize that there are a lot of things you don't know, and a lot of things you need to do differently. Unfortunately, when you jump in as the head coach, there isn't anybody there to hold your hand, so the transition is going to be even more difficult.

I think Mike will get through this, unlike some others in similar situations. Here's why:

- expectations are not that high in Golden State (their wildest fantasy is probably to attain mediocrity)
- his profile was not that high when he arrived (nice college career, but he's no Rick Pitino)
- he also went through building periods and losing seasons at Stanford, so he knows how to learn from his experiences

That's not to say that he's going to turn Golden State into a champion. But I think he is going to stay long enough, and have enough success, to recover his reputation and continue his career in the pros.

11:54 AM  
Blogger SportsProf said...

Thanks, Amateur.

It's hard to succeed in the NBA if you're a former college coach for many reasons. The most important one is that typically a bad team hires you, and unless that team has a magical GM, it's hard to improve your roster dramatically in only a few years. So, you play who you have, and, in Golden State's case, they don't have a lot.

He's one of the good guys, so I hope he succeeds too.

3:54 PM  

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