L.A. Lakers coach Mike Brown was fired after just five games this
season. Other early exits among coaches and managers:
Bill Gadsby, Detroit Red Wings: In 1969, Detroit opened the season by defeating Toronto 3-2 and Chicago 4-1, after which owner Bruce Norris said, "Gads, you've really got these guys going." The next day, Norris fired him. "He wasn't sophisticated enough," Norris said. Gadsby: "I didn't think one human being could do that to another guy."
Cal Ripken Sr., Baltimore Orioles, and Phil Garner, Detroit Tigers: Both men were dumped only six games into their seasons, with Ripken going 0-6 in 1988 and Garner matching that record in 2002. For Ripken, the move capped a sour day in which he was sentenced to three years' probation on a drunk-driving charge, although the club said it was unrelated to the managerial move. When the elder Ripken died in 1999, the Washington Post reported, "Those who know Junior say that he never felt quite the same about the Orioles after his father's firing."
Jack Ramsay, Indiana Pacers: Dr. Jack, the NBA's winningest active coach in 1988, reached a mutual decision with Indiana to step aside after an 0-7 start, the Pacers' worst since joining the league. "I didn't like the direction the team was taking, and it wasn't enjoyable for me anymore," said Ramsay, who later became a Heat analyst.
Gene Shue, Philadelphia 76ers: A dizzying period for Philly fans. Shue took the Sixers to the NBA Finals in 1977, losing to Portland and Ramsay in six games, then was fired for starting the 1977-78 season 2-4. He was replaced by Billy Cunningham, who led Philly back to the Finals in 1980, losing to the Lakers when Magic Johnson scored 42 points as a fill-in for injured center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. At least when Shue was fired by the Los Angeles Clippers during the 1988-89 season, he lasted long enough to go 10-28.
Paul Westphal, Sacramento Kings: Sacramento's 2-5 record may not have been enough to get him fired in January, but his escalating feud with center DeMarcus Cousins was. The club owners, the Maloof brothers, sided with the often-troubled Cousins when it became obvious one of the two had to go.
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