Wherefore art thou, Coach? Parting thoughts on Stan Van Gundy.

I walked into the Pebble Creek clubhouse at the turn, to quench my thirst with a refreshing Jack Daniels and Coca-Cola cocktail last Tuesday afternoon.  The lukewarm cans of Yuengling on the front nine weren’t sitting well.  Like any good sports fan, I glanced at the television while the bartender prepared my drink.

There I saw it, the sound of inevitability.  Stan Van Gundy and Otis Smith had both been dismissed from their positions with the Orlando Magic.  Operation Clean Sweep.

Their dismissals, or at least Van Gundy’s, was only a matter of time, his desk probably cleaned out long before the news arrived.  Otis Smith had bought the groceries, but the cupboard had gone bare.

Ultimately, Stan became a man fighting a lost cause.  Like it or not, the NBA is a superstar’s league.  Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets.  Regardless of whether Dwight Howard is the short-term solution, long-term solution, both or neither for the Orlando Magic, he is still their center, their best scorer, their best defender, their best rebounder, their best player and certainly their most marketable.

Once upon a time, Dwight and Stan got along famously.  Dwight would willingly do impressions of Stan and Stan understood that Dwight was his chance at coaching immortality.  In the end, it didn’t quite work out that well as Stan is now out of a job and Dwight, for the time being, remains in Orlando.

My take on Stan Van?  I liked the guy.  Was he the kind of coach that would end up with a ring?  Who knows?  He led Orlando to the Finals, just not one giant step farther for Magic-kind.  Five seasons with the Magic, five post-seasons with the Magic.  With a 259-135 regular-season record, Stan won nearly 66% of its games.  Orlando will soon find out whether his replacement will be able to duplicate that success.

At this point, outsiders can only guess whether the DeVos family is consulting Dwight on their future hires, all the while his decision to stay or leave remains undetermined.  One thing, however, is for certain.  The Stan Van Gundy era is over in Orlando.  And he can probably sleep better at night because of it.

The future of the Orlando Magic now hangs in the balance.  This is a franchise that has twice been to the NBA Finals but in a hyper-competitive league that features a handful of superstars in a few, concentrated markets, the Magic are going to have to be as aggressive as possible in wooing athletes to play in their town.  The LeBrons, Wades and Durants of the world only come around so often and there’s no one on the horizon near as talented as them.

Since the 1980s, and probably farther back than that, only one team has won an NBA title without a bona fide superstar.  Lose Dwight, or fail to replace him with equivalent talent and the Magic might just seal their fate.  Despite all Dwight’s whining, that’s what Magic fans fear most: life without the big man.

So now we sit, wait and hope for the best.  As we’ve seen lately, it may get worse before it gets a whole lot better.

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22 Replies to “Wherefore art thou, Coach? Parting thoughts on Stan Van Gundy.”

  1. Pingback: Wherefore art thou, Coach? Parting thoughts on Stan Van Gundy. - BallHyped, NBA | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  2. Good choice Rev, nothing will settle the old stomach like a cold Jack and Coke.

  3. Warm beer on the golf course just doesn’t do it for me, Aer.

    Just like Stan Van didn’t do it for DeVos.

    We’ll see whether only one, or both of us, made the right choice.

  4. Chris,

    I thought SVG was a very good coach. Same thoughts for Bobby Cox and Bud Grant.

  5. Oh yeah, he might be on the top of the list.

    Hey Chris, what’s ur take on the Saint’s jerking around Brees? Do u think Benson is just resigned to an off year? Kinda take it or leave it offer? Strange, the guy doesn’t get the respect he should among managements.

  6. To be honest, Ron, I haven’t followed it all that much.

    As Austin Powers would say, contract negotiations are not my bag, baby.

    I prefer the on-the-field stuff. For whatever reason, New Orleans doesn’t want to come to terms. Is that alienating him and an entire fan base? Probably. When they sign him, will that fan base be appeased? Probably. If they don’t, will that fan base be pissed off? Definitely.

    All I can tell you is, from a Buccaneer fan’s perspective, we’re perfectly okay with it.

  7. So “Lefty “ Mickelson and the grandchildren of Walter O’Malley are part of a consortium that’ll approach John Moores with a view to buying the Padres </b ? Lefty's got dough yo' but buying the Padres ? Damn what's up with that Chris ? I mean if you and I got together I'm sure we'd be able to advise Lefty of the alternate ways to invest his money a great deal better . Hell there are worst investments at present to be sure ………… buying shares in that flea bitten dog crap known as Facebook , shares in Bank of America …. anything that's insurance related to say the very least .

    Courtesy of MLB.com/news

    Mickelson joins group trying to buy Padres

    CHICAGO — When Padres manager Bud Black heard that golfer Phil Mickelson had joined one of the five groups trying to purchase the team, he had but one thought.

    “He’d make a good fourth,” Black said, smiling. “He’d be a good best-ball partner.”

    On Monday, Mickelson, a San Diego native, joined the group that includes four grandchildren of former Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley in their pursuit of buying the team from John Moores, who is the team’s majority owner.

    “I’ve been talking to them about being involved with them, having an opportunity to invest in the team and being part of the ownership group,” Mickelson told The Associated Press. “I think it’s a very good investment opportunity.

    “More than that, it’s an opportunity to be involved in the community in San Diego, with something that gives the community a sense of pride. I feel like we can make the Padres a competitive team that can contend year in and year out, and we can do something for the community. It’s something I’ve loved since I was a kid.”

    Last week, former Padres Hall of Fame outfielder Tony Gwynn announced that he would be involved in another group interested in buying the team, one led by Thomas Tull, who is the chairman and CEO of Legendary Entertainment.

    According to Moores last week, three groups had been approved by Major League Baseball to review the financial records of the Padres for a possible purchase of the franchise. Moores said he expects that number to reach at least six before the bidding on the club is complete.

    Click on link to read in full.


    The recent sales of the Astros , Dodgers and Cubs may well open up the floodgates because of the speculative and overpriced nature of the market . Never mind the rumors that started to swirl around when it was suggested by the NY Daily News that the Steinbrenners were interested in selling the Yankees . Hal soon shot those rumors down really fast didn’t he ? But if the price is right …….. upwards of $5 billion , who’s to say that they wouldn’t sell the franchise ? Would you for $ 5 billion ($5 ,000,000,000) ?

    Sad story about former boxing champ Paul Williams ? Had a motorcycle accident over the weekend ……. severing his spinal cord and is now paralyzed from the waist down . Police now state that he may well have been speeding when he tried to avoid a vehicle and was thrown from his bike . Highly unlikely that he’ll walk again much less re-enter the ring as a professional boxer .


  8. Is the NBA a star’s league? Yes. Is it suicide to let the inmates run the asylum? Yes. Stan Van Gone-dy will be just fine; he’ll get another job somewhere, where the Magic will be counting on a ping-pong ball this time next year.

  9. It is unfortunate how the whole thing turned out. You’re right, SVG is probably happier not being in the position. Would think he would coach somewhere in the future.

    How about the Shaq rumors. They should have been squashed by the Devos’, but they seem to like the attention, and it wouldn’t shock me if they actually interview the guy.

    As opposed to the begging of the year, doesn’t a Bynum for Howard trade seem fairly resonable now.

  10. The wrong guy left town when Van Gundy was excused. And those remaining behind might as well all don their Mickey Mouse ears right now, representative of their franchise’s future status in the Association.

  11. Al…

    If Magic can turn the Dodgers into a winner in a month, maybe Phil thinks he can do the same in San Diego. Besides, he’s probably buying them for pennies on the dollar.

    Tiger used to be able to afford a professional sports franchise. Now only his ex-wife can.

  12. Dub…

    The Magic have done fairly well in the draft, garnering three number one picks in their history.

    Unfortunately, that has not translated into championships.

  13. Alex…

    What I don’t understand is who spread those Shaq rumors in the first place. Was there any truth to them? I mean, there must have been, right? To me that just seems like a desperate, if not totally uneducated move.

    Why risk the future of your franchise on a name?

  14. That’s what scares me the most, SA. Knowing that the suckiness is coming and there’s nothing we can do about it.

    Well, at least we’re going back to the days where we’ll be able to sit anywhere in that arena.

  15. Lefty wanted to follow Tiger’s trailblazing trail …….. ’til he found out there’s such a thing as an STD . Now he equates his ultimate satisfaction in being part owner of a baseball franchise . The fact that it happens to be the Padres makes it all the more farcical as well as being surreal ! Have you seen them play lately ? They give the game of baseball …….. a really bad name by no stretch of the imagination .

    When Dwight said he had nothing to do with Van Gundy’s firing …. how deep had he embedded the knife in between the ex-coach’s shoulder blades while his back was turned ? If you can answer me that , then we’ll know what’s really been going on behind closed doors . ” Et tu Brutus ” ? …… SVG was heard to say as the Magic’s scout peed on the coach’s car in the parking lot . Now what ?

    Do you think Ewing has a better than even chance of getting the vacant position ?

  16. Chris

    I trust you enjoyed the game last night ? Can’t say we didn’t see that coming with the Celtics having that last minute ‘ brain freeze’ in turning over the ball repeatedly in the final minutes . But for Rondo’s 40 plus pts they would never have been in the game .

    Up 2-0 I for one can’t see the Heat relinquishing this series’ lead much less losing a game . Rivers’ players had their chance and they “flubbed it ” ! At their (Celtics) home-court , TD North Bank-Center in Boston , Mass , it’ll be more of the same ….. from Bron-Bron and the boys .

    I’ll be doing two separate pieces own piece on the conference finals as well as the potential sale of the Padres . Look forward to reading your insight and take on the subject matters in question .


  17. Al…

    Speaking of following in Tiger’s footsteps, Phil’s withdrawn from the Memorial this weekend. Perhaps he’s starting to realize that playing every other weekend is too much.

    And he’s not even visiting the local Perkins.

    Re: the Magic, nobody in their right mind thinks Dwight Howard had nothing to do with Stan Van’s firing. If nothing else, his absence and lack of fire towards the end of the season was reason enough.

  18. I hadn’t given Boston much of a chance in the series, Al.

    We’ll see if they decide to show up in Game Three. If not, they’ll be goin’ fishin’.

  19. Pingback: Sports Chump » A Tale of Two Van Gundys

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