Tbird topic: Under the radar name in the coaching search?.you heard it here first!
Written by thunderbird1245
Hello all. I interrupt my draft profiles tonight with some thoughts on the Pacers coaching search and
The name I am going to throw out there tonight I believe would be a strong candidate to be our next head coach, and in fact I believe he is likely being considered, for a variety of reasons.
Remember, when Larry Bird hired Jim O’Brien a few years ago he caught most of us totally off guard. Bird keeps his coaching searches close to the vest, but from his statements and actions over the last few years I think we can take away some of the things Larry believes are important in who coaches his team:
-Bird likes a disciplinarian, someone who runs hard practices and runs a tight ship.
-Bird also is going to pick players based on his own vision, not necessarily the view point of the coach.
-Bird likes coaches with previous head coaching experience.
-Bird cares little about what the fans think, and will keep his search away from the media speculation.
-Bird will likely hire someone who will not break the bank money wise.
I now believe, though it is very possible I am wrong, that Bird is not going to retain Frank Vogel. I think if he were going to do that, he’d have already made the move to keep him. Instead, Bird is playing the field, doing his research, and trying this time to find someone who can better implement his own vision for how a team should play, while still having all the above traits that Jim O’Brien had that Bird valued.
Having said all of that, I have a potential candidate to name, which is one I am sure none of you have even considered or even thought about. My candidate is former Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warrior head coach Eric Musselman.
Let me tell you his resume first, in case some of you aren’t familiar with him.
Musselman is the son of a coach, old grizzled veteran coach Bill Musselman. Bill was a coaching legend in the midwest and in various levels of coaching, spending alot of time in Minnesota, both in college and with the Timberwolves. For the coaching grinders, Musselman was one of a kind….no one worked teams harder or squeezed more out of less than Bill Musselman. He never won big, never had great jobs, never had great success….but many great coaches never fall in the right situations. Trust me, almost everyone in the basketball business would have a good opinion of Bill Musselman.
Eric is a chip off the old block, though much more of a modern thinker than his old man. He got his start coaching in the old CBA, and was very successful there, going 270-122 there. For those of you who scoff at coaching records in the CBA, keep in mind that both Phil Jackson and George Karl got their starts there as well. We all think coach Vogel is young, but Eric Musselman began coaching in the CBA at age 23!
He has experience at the NBA level, being the head coach of Golden State for 2 years (for the 2002-03 and 03-04 seasons), and he served as the replacement for Rick Adelman in Sacramento for one season in 2006-07. While not extraordinarily successful by any means, keep in mind he did finish second in the coach of the year balloting one season. Also keep in mind just how pitiful both those franchises have been in recent years, and what a coaching graveyard both of them have become.
Now, I am biased to a degree in liking Coach Musselman. I once went to a clinic he spoke at back in my younger days, and got to spend some time with him then. His topic at that clinic was using technology and new statistics to coach better by the way, so he was somewhat ahead of the curve on that way of thinking. A few years later when he coached the Warriors, SI did a feature piece on him….and his use of technology and new coaching thinking was a big part of the article.
I got to talk to Coach Musselman a little a couple of weeks ago at the Adidas May Classic here in Bloomington, and once again came away impressed. I am not sure exactly why he was there to be honest, maybe he had a son playing I don’t know. ( that was a fun night, as I ran into him and Eric Gordon within 15 minutes of one another.) Musselman has largely been out of the mainstream, but he has been doing some media stuff the last few years, and I know he still has a burning desire to coach. I even had read he was a strong candidate to join the Bulls staff when Thibodoux was hired, but that didn’t happen apparently.
Musselman has strong ties and connections throughout basketball. In his many stops he has either worked with or for Flip Saunders, Chuck Daly, Doc Rivers, Lon Kruger and Mike Fratello, and he played for long time coaches Jim Brovelli and Hank Egan in college. Because of those deep contacts he’d be able to put a much better staff together than Frank Vogel probably can…..one of the likely people we’d get in a Musselman staff is one of his former CBA players and IU player Keith Smart (ex coach of Golden State and hero of IU’s 87 national champions)
Bird will know Musselman from a variety of contacts throughout basketball, but more than any other Bird is connected to Musselman through a man named Jerry Reynolds. Reynolds is a long time NBA executive and media person who also happens to be from French Lick Indiana. I don’t know this for sure of course, but I believe that one of the people Larry consults with and gets ideas from is Reynolds, and JR worked with Musselman before in Sacramento I believe.
And keep in mind that Musselman will likely be willing to take a smaller and shorter length contract, something that may be important to both Bird and to ownership.
So in summary, Musselman would be a hard working coaching grinder,* has head coaching experience, would likely be able to put together a great staff, is still only 46 years old, is a pioneer in new coaching technology and the statistical revolution, and would likely come pretty cheap on our pocketbook.
I am not saying this is going to happen for sure or is even being considered….obviously I am just a high school coach and schmuck who posts on an internet board for fun……but don’t be surprised if it happens.
Remember, you heard it hear first!
And in off chance that Vogel is retained, Musselman would be a great candidate for his new staff as well. One way or the other, I think there is a great chance Coach Eric Musselman is in our organization in some capacity next season.
While not a sexy hire, and even though it might cause an uproar here on this board and all over the area….it actually would be an inspired and savvy choice if Bird hires Musselman as our next head coach. He would do a high quality job for us in my view.
What other off the wall, under the radar candidates do you think Bird is considering? Throw out some names, and get creative….I have a feeling Larry is going to surprise us again!
As always, the above is just my opinion.