Former NBA player, Mark Jackson has been fired from his post as head coach of the Golden State Warriors, AP reported.
The Warriors fired Jackson after three seasons, ending the franchise’s most successful coaching tenure in the past two decades but also one filled with drama and distractions.
Away from the court, Jackson never backed down from doing things how he wanted. His inability to mesh with management – and management’s inability to mesh with Jackson – increasingly overshadowed his success and ultimately cost him his job.
Warriors owner Joe Lacob and general manager Bob Myers both thanked Jackson, saying he helped make the Warriors a more attractive franchise. But Myers said the decision to dismiss Jackson was ”unanimous” among the team’s executives.
Jackson’s time with the Warriors will be remembered for the way he helped turn a perennially losing franchise into a consistent winner and the bold and bombastic way in which he did it.
Jackson guaranteed Golden State would make the playoffs in his first season, then finished 23-36 after the NBA labor lockout. The Warriors went 47-35 last season and had a memorable run to the second round of the playoffs, and they were 51-31 this season before losing in seven games to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round.
The Warriors, who have surrounded star Stephen Curry with a talented nucleus since Lacob’s group bought the franchise in 2010, had not made the playoffs in consecutive years since 1991-92. They had made the postseason once in 17 years before Jackson arrived.
Lacob and Myers declined to discuss the coaching search, other than to say it would begin immediately. Former NBA player and TNT broadcaster Steve Kerr, former Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg and Connecticut’s Kevin Ollie have been among the most talked-about candidates this offseason.
The Warriors know a new coach comes with the risk of disrupting team chemistry, especially considering nearly every player publicly called for Jackson to return, most notably Curry, whom Lacob said was told of the decision ahead of time. Myers also spoke to several players after he and Lacob informed Jackson of their decision.
Jackson took to Twitter to thank the organization, players and fans. Several of his present and past players also applauded the job he had done.
Jackson, a former NBA point guard who had his best seasons with the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers, had never been a head coach at any level when Lacob hired him away from the ESPN/ABC broadcast table in June 2011.
A minister who runs a church with his wife near their Southern California home, Jackson often spoke of his Christian beliefs while surprisingly turning the Warriors into one of the NBA’s best defensive teams.
The Warriors still stuck by Jackson even when he created news off the court, including when reports surfaced in June 2012 that he and his family were the targets of an extortion attempt related to an extramarital affair he had six years prior, which led to questions about his credibility and morals.
The pressure on Jackson really heated up when the Warriors decided to pick up his contract option for the 2014-15 season last summer instead of negotiating a long-term deal as he had wanted.
Management also encouraged Jackson to hire a strong tactician after top assistant Michael Malone – who had several disagreements with Jackson – left to become the coach of the Sacramento Kings.
Instead, Jackson promoted Pete Myers and other assistants and hired Lindsey Hunter and Brian Scalabrine. And while reports of rifts within the team surfaced on occasion, having two assistants dismissed – Scalabrine reassigned to the team’s NBA Development League affiliate in Santa Cruz, and Darren Erman fired – in a 12-day span before the playoffs perpetuated the idea that Jackson had fostered an environment of dysfunction, which he repeatedly refuted.
”George Karl was Coach of the Year last year and got fired,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. ”Mark Jackson gets a team to multiple playoffs for the first time in a thousand years, and then gets fired. It’s our job. It’s a tough job, and I think everybody knows it now more than ever.”
Jackson played 16 years in the NBA, for New York Knicks, LA Clippers, Indiana Pacers, Denver Nuggets, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz, and Houston Rockets.
He holds career averages of 9.6 ppg and 8 apg, appearing in 1296 games, starting in 1092. He was also an NBA All-star in 1989.Follow @exnbadotcom
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