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George Hale Talks Hiring and Firing of Coaches 

THE OLD SAYING IS COACHES GET HIRED…TO GET FIRED.

A RELATIVELY LONG-SERVING COACH RECENTLY WAS LET GO IN BOSTON.

WHILE DOING SPORTS ON THE RADIO THIS WEEK I WAS SOMEWHAT SURPRISED TO GET A BREAKING ITEM THAT SAID CLAUDE JULIEN WAS FIRED AS HEAD COACH OF THE BRUINS.

NOT THAT THE AXING OF A PRO COACH WAS A BIG SURPRISE BUT MORE BECAUSE IT WAS PARADE DAY IN BOSTON FOR THE PATRIOTS.

NOT GREAT TIMING FOR A CITY CELEBRATING ANOTHER SUPER BOWL TITLE.

SO IMAGINE MY SURPRISE, WHEN AFTER SEVEN DAYS OF UNEMPLOYMENT, JULIEN IS SIGNED BY THE BRUINS ARCH RIVALS MONTREAL AS THEIR HEAD COACH.

LIKELY THE HABS, ALREADY IN FIRST PLACE, WILL BE A LOT BETTER HOCKEY TEAM.

BUT IT GOT ME THINKING AGAIN ABOUT THIS BUSINESS OF FIRING COACHES IN SPORTS.

WHEN TEAMS ARE STUGGLING OR NOT LIVING UP TO EXPECTATIONS OF OWNERS AND FANS DOES GETTING RID OF THE HEAD GUY MAKE MUCH DIFFERENCE.

IT OFTEN DEPENDS ON THE SPORT AND WHO YOU ASK.

QUITE FREQUENTLY IT COSTS A SMALL FORTUNE TO DUMP THE HEAD COACH AND THE REWARD OF DOING IT IS SMALL.

KEEPING YOUR LEADER WON’T MAKE FANS HAPPY BECAUSE THE PRESSURE TO MAKE A CHANGE IS GREAT EVEN THOUGH WE MIGHT NOT SEE BETTER OUTCOMES ON THE FIELD OF PLAY.

THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE IN THE MID-SEASON AS THE BRUINS JUST DID.

THERE ISN’T A TON OF RESEARCH ON THE MATTER BUT WHAT I HAVE FOUND OUT IS THAT IT DOESN’T MAKE A LOT OF DIFFERENCE IN THE SHORT TERM.

SURE THERE ARE BETTER HEAD COACHES THAN OTHERS BUT WHEN YOU FIRE ONE WHAT IS LOGICAL TO EXPECT.

TEAMS THAT REPLACE A COACH DURING A LOSING SEASON MORE OFTEN THAN NOT CONTINUE THAT PATTERN.

I’M NOT SAYING COACHES DON’T MATTER BUT FANS TOO OFTEN OVER-EMPHAZIZE THE IMPACT OF A SWITCH.

BASEBALL IS A SPORT WHERE MANAGERS OFTEN COME AND GO AS IF THEY ARE IN A REVOLVING DOOR.

YOU KNOW WHEN YOU ARE HIRED THAT YOU WILL BE FIRED AT SOME POINT.

THOSE WHO WORK WITH ANALYTICS HAVE PRETTY MUCH COME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT A CHANGE IN WINNING PERCENTAGE, WHETER POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE, IS
INCONSEQUENTIAL AND A CHANGE IN MANGERS HAS LITTLE SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON A TEAM’S PERFORMANCE.

MORE OFTEN THAN NOT SCAPEGOATING IS THE REASON COACHES ARE FIRED.

UPPER LEVEL MANAGEMENT LIKES TO PUSH BLAME DOWN THE LINE.

FEW OF THOSE WHO ARE FIRED ARE IDLE VERY LONG BECAUSE GENERALLY THERE IS VERY LITTLE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COACHES.

THE BASEBALL SEASON IS FAST APPROACHING AND IT WON’T TAKE LONG FOR LOSING TEAMS’ FANS TO START CRYING FOR THE MANAGER’S HEAD.

RED SOX SKIPPER JOHN FARRELL WAS RUMORED ON THE WAY OUT AS EARLY AS MAY LAST YEAR IN THE PRESS AND SOCIAL MEDIA.

TERRY FRANCONA WAS DRUMMED OUT OF BOSTON BY MEDIA AND FANS WHO BLAMED HIM FOR A SOX COLLAPSE.

SO LAST YEAR HE WAS MANAGER OF THE YEAR WITH CLEVELAND.

THERE ARE GREAT MANAGERS AND COACHES BUT THERE IS NO GUARANTEE THE NEXT HIRE IS ANY BETTER THAN THE ONE WHO WAS ALREADY THERE.

I DOUBT THAT VERY LITTLE WILL CHANGE.

OWNERS AND FANS WANT WINS AND SUCCESS AND WHEN IT DOESN’T HAPPEN DEMAND THAT CHANGES BE MADE.

FRANKLY, CLAUDE JULIEN WAS A GOOD COACH WHO NOW INHERITS A TEAM IN FIRST PLACE.

AND SHOULD BE VERY SUCCESSFUL.

THERE IS AN OLD SAYING IN SPORTS.

YOU CAN’T FIRE THE PLAYERS SO FIRE THE COACH.

I THINK THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE BRUINS.

THIS IS GEORGE HALE WITH MY PERSPECTIVE ON SPORTS.