Political reporters often refer to the “Friday news dump”. The idea there is that public figures wait until late on Friday to dump bad news so that folks who are focused on weekend activities might not notice it as much as if it were done on normal weekday. I do not know that there is an analogy in the sports world, but I can assure you that yesterday’s news release was voluminous – – and not on a Friday. I probably will not get to all if it in this rant; my question for the morning is the order in which I should take them.
I think the biggest news from yesterday is that Mike Krzyzewski will retire from coaching Duke basketball after this season. Just some overview stats:
- He has coached at the college level for 46 years – – 5 at Army and 41 at Duke.
- His overall record is 1170-361 for a winning percentage of .764.
- He has been inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame (twice), the US Olympic Hall of Fame and the College Basketball Hall of Fame.
- He has won 5 NCAA Championships and 5 Olympic Gold Medals.
This announcement comes on the heels of Roy Williams’ retirement at UNC a couple of months ago. I said when Williams retired that it would be difficult to follow in his footsteps; the same situation will obtain in Durham for Jon Scheyer who will take over the Duke job next Spring. This selection is analogous to UNC’s selection of Hubert Davis as Roy Williams’ successor. Scheyer is a former Duke player and has been an important assistant for the Blue Devils since 2013.
The history of “following a legend” into a job is not glorious. In fact, many people do not know who followed legends such as:
- John Wooden
- Dean Smith
- Bear Bryant
- Bud Wilkinson
- Vince Lombardi
- Don Shula
- [Hint: One of these “successors” made the Hall of Fame on his own; and still, many folks cannot identify him without resorting to Wikipedia.]
I think the Athletic Director at Duke and the administration there did a smart thing in naming the successor proximal to Coach K’s announcement of impending departure. That decision eliminates about 9 months of speculation as to which of the former Duke players now in the coaching business might get the nod – – and there are more than a handful of them out there. The transition can be much smoother this way.
One more comment here … Some reports have speculated that the instability caused by the new NCAA rules on transfers and the transfer portal played a significant role in both Roy Williams’ and Mike Krzyzewski’s decision to step down. Until I hear that from either man himself, I will refrain from ascribing motives here. John Feinstein wrote an excellent column on his association with Coach K in the Washington Post; I commend it to your reading.
Next up is what seemed as if it would be the “big story of the day” until Coach K’s announcement. Danny Ainge is leaving the job as “head of basketball operations” with the Boston Celtics and Brad Stevens is taking over that position leaving the Celtics head coaching job vacant. In his new position, Stevens will be in charge of hiring his replacement; that does not happen every day. There had been reports that Stevens had been hugely stressed by the “Orlando Bubble experience” last summer – – as I would surmise was the case for plenty of folks there. Stevens has been the coach of the Celtics since 2013; he is 44 years old; he has plenty of “basketball future” ahead of him.
There is an irony that these two stories emerged on the same day. Over the past few months there have been more than a few columns written speculating that Brad Stevens would be the person to succeed Coach K at Duke. If you Google, “Brad Stevens Duke” you will find a plethora of links to columns and video bits discussing that eventuality. And then on the same day, Coach K announces that he is stepping down while Brad Stevens is moving up from the bench to the Celtics’ front office.
Moving on … I said that I would keep track of the MLB players on the Injured List and the number of days on the IL by those players and how much they earned while on the list. The season began on 1 April, so I went and checked as of June 1. The season is between 25 and 30% over and here are the data:
- Number of players on IL = 463 (265 are pitchers)
- Cumulative days on IL by the players = 12,571 (Average stay = 27.1 days)
- Money earned by players while on IL = $243,959,242
Finally, here is a comment from Brad Dickson formerly with the Omaha World Herald, that relates to the MLB Injured List:
“Two small planes collided over Colorado & miraculously nobody was hurt. Meanwhile every year at least one major league baseball player misses half the season after injuring himself with a can opener or dental floss.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………