Coaching Casualties Mount

Multiple NBA, NFL and NHL Coaches Get the Axe

When the Sacramento Kings gave Reggie Theus the boot Monday, they became the sixth NBA team to fire a head coach this year.

The Kings, at 6-18 and hold one of the leagues worst records, made the move just two days after the Philadelphia 76ers ousted Maurice Cheeks.

Since the 2008-09 season kicked off less than seven weeks ago, Oklahoma City (P.J. Carlesimo), Toronto (Sam Mitchell), Minnesota (Randy Wittman) and, of course, the Wizards (Eddie Jordan) have made changes at head coach.

The Kings, like the Wizards, dismissed their coach immediately after losing to the New York Knicks, who have retained their title of NBA punch line through an extended internal dispute with guard Stephon Marbury and their shameless gimmicks to lure 2010 free agent LeBron James to the Big Apple. Jordan made his exit on Nov. 24 after losing 122-117 at Madison Square Garden and leading the Wizards to a 1-10 record.

The Wizards won their next game without Jordan at the helm, but interim coach Ed Tapscott (the team’s former assistant coach) has won just two games since.

But that’s the way these things tend to go. The five teams have a combined record of 10-25. Sacramento hasn’t played a game without Theus yet. And only three of them have a better winning percentage since they made the change.

At .300, the Wizards still have a much higher winning percentage than before Tapscott took over. Philadelphia has a 1.000 percentage after winning their first, and only, game with Tony DiLeo. And Oklahoma City has gone 1-10 since P.J. Carlesimo was fired. They were 1-12 with him.

Likewise, the NFL has also seem some movement on the sidelines. With two weeks left in the regular season, three coaches, Mike Nolan (San Francisco 49ers), Lane Kiffin (Oakland Raiders) and Scott Linehan (St. Louis Rams) have lost their jobs. Kiffin has already found another job as head coach of the University of Tennessee Volunteers football program.

And in the NHL, three more coaches bit he bullet. The Tampa Bay Lighting fired first-year coach Barry Melrose, the Chicago Blackhawks fired Denis Savard, and most recently, the Carolina Hurricanes fired Peter Laviolette.

It’s starting to look like not even coaches in professional sports leagues have job security.