The Faces of Change
Everyone knows that fall is a season of changes and that could not be more true for Philadelphia sports teams. This fall, our four major sports teams are experiencing coaching changes in the same season. You may be asking yourself, “Has this ever happened before?” The answer is no, not in Philadelphia, but the last time it happened was in 2005 in Detroit. Here’s what went down:
The Lions fired head coach Steve Mariucci with five games left to go in the season and replaced him with Dick Jauron. A move that would prove horribly unsuccessful as Jauron proceeded to lead the team to a 1-4 record in his only five games as head coach. The Pistons fired head coach Larry Brown in July of 2005 and replaced him with Flip Saunders who helped the team post ten more games in the win column for the 2005-2006 season. In baseball, the Tigers fired Manager Alan Trammell after a season full of inconsistent play and injuries. He was replaced by Jim Leyland in October, who then went on to lead the Tigers to a 2006 World Series appearance. Lastly, the Red Wings fired head coach Dave Lewis after dismal success in the playoffs. He was replaced by Mike Babcock who has compiled an impressive record with the team as well as a Stanley Cup Championship. He has remained the head coach of the Red Wings for the past eight seasons. With the exception of the Lions, these coaching changes have produced positive results for their respective organizations.
So what’s the situation in Philly these days? Well, if you’ve been living under a rock recently, here’s the scoop: At the conclusion of the 2012-2013 season, the Eagles said farewell to long time head coach Andy Reid and replaced him with former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly. While it’s still early on in the season, the Eagles have yet to show that they have what it takes to be competitive in the NFL. There are definitely some bright spots, but it appears that the Eagles will need more time to work out the kinks in their new system. Back in April, Doug Collins resigned as head coach of the Sixers and has since been replaced by Brett Brown. Although the Sixers regular season hasn’t started yet, they began pre-season play with a win against Bilbao Basket in Spain. With Brown’s emphasis on fitness, team building and leadership, this coaching change looks to be a positive move for the organization. In August, the Phillies fired Manager Charlie Manuel and promoted Ryne Sandberg to take his place. Sandberg’s Phillies finished 10th in the National League and failed to make it to the postseason. Not acceptable here in Philadelphia to say the least. In recent news, former Phillies manager Larry Bowa makes his return to Philadelphia as a bench coach and former Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin will return as the team’s new third base coach. Will these coaching changes help improve the flailing Phillies? Probably not, but it’s nice to have some former Phillies faces back in town. Last but not least, there’s the poor Flyers. Off to an 0-3 start, the Flyers fired head coach Peter Laviolette and have promoted Assistant Coach Craig Berube to replace him. In addition, Ian LaPerrier and John Paddock have been named the team’s new assistant coaches. So you may be asking yourself, “Who makes a coaching change three games into a season? Why didn’t the Flyers just fire Laviolette at the end of last season or even let things play out a little longer into this season to see if the team improves?” The answer: I have no idea! But you have to love the fact that the organization is willing to do whatever it takes to succeed and isn’t willing to waste time letting things fester and get worse before they make a move. Look at it this way: Things can’t get any worse so at least they’re being proactive.
So as Philadelphia fans, all of these coaching changes leave us in a place of uncertainty. But honestly, what else is new? We should be used to this by now. This happens to Philadelphia fans all the time in one way or another. Living in a state of uncertainty is what we do best. But because of our die hard devotion to our sports teams we grin and bear it. We cheer on our teams through the good, the bad and the ugly. So sit back, relax and watch to see what unfolds in the world of Philadelphia sports this year. And hey, you never know, we may end up being pleasantly surprised.