Marc Daniels Column: Magic Coaches Don't Last Very Long


Orlando Magic v Chicago Bulls

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History tells us a lot. And history of the Orlando Magic tells us the next person hired to coach the team likely will never see a fifth season. Whether being hired by Pat Williams, John Gabriel, Otis Smith, Rob Hennigan or Jeff Weltman- Magic GMs or Presidents of whatever the title is, hire coaches that come in with all the praise then leave in a few years.

The Magic have had only one coach finish a fifth season and that was Stan Van Gundy. Halfway through that final season for Stan, it became apparent the Magic were looking at a rebuild and Stan wanted no part of that and the team wanted no part of Stan after the decision was made to trade Dwight Howard.

Here's the rundown of Magic coaches and their stay:

Matt Goukas      4 seasons

Brian Hill         3.5 seasons

Chuck Daly       2 seasons

Doc Rivers       4 seasons

Johnny Davis     2 seasons....almost (Davis coached 71 games after Rivers was fired then 64 the following year before he was fired)

Brian Hill II       2 seasons

Stan Van Gundy   5 seasons

Jacque Vaughn    2.5 seasons

Scott Skiles       1 season

Frank Vogel       2 seasons

Steve Clifford     3 seasons

The next Magic coach will be the team's 4th hiring in the last seven seasons. But the Magic may not be that far from the NBA norm; The average stay for an NBA coach is about 3.5 seasons. For every Greg Popovich there's Nate Bjorkgren, You had no idea Bjorkgren was the Pacers coach and he was also fired after one season. Pop, Erik Spoelstra and Rick Carlisle are rare coaches who stay with their teams for a decade or more. Teams and fans have little patience these days and you either win early or don't last long.

Whoever the Magic hire will get the honeymoon period and a young, rebuilding roster will create a lower expectation when it comes to wins. But there is the likelihood that whoever the team brings in to be head coach they likely will not be around when/if the team makes that next step into a contending team.

Final note: Richie Adubato is the only interim coach in Magic history with a winning record. He was 21-12 when he took over for Brian Hill in 1997. He was not hired after that season. The Magic brought in Chuck Daly instead.


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