This Philadelphia 76ers season was actually just a long Mythbusters experiment to resolve whether the Doug Collins Rule is in fact legit. The Doug Collins Rule posits that screamy, hyperpassionate coaches burn out their players within three years. (Larry Brown ceded naming rights when he got fired early in his third year in Charlotte.)
Result: the rule is legit! The Sixers have fallen off of several cliffs in Collins' third year, and now we have a report from the Philadelphia Inquirer that he will not be receiving a contract extension. He's under contract for the 2013-14 season, but, writes Bob Ford, may elect to step away.
Collins, who will be 62 this summer, will be the one making the decision. Management is not eager to get into a public-relations war with a popular former player and charismatic local hero. The two sides would have to come to an agreement to settle the contract, but if that is the price of a peaceful parting, the organization might consider it a bargain.
So Collins needs to decide whether it's worth daring the Sixers to can him so that he can collect the $4.5 million, or whether he should consider giving up some of that money by negotiating a quiet exit. The dream season continues!
Something else worth exploring:
The passion and energy that come with Collins also come at a cost. He wants to win so badly that he is demanding with those above him, and with those on his roster. Some members of the organization would prefer a coach who is a bit more pliable in his dealings with management and players.
This is a pleasant way of saying that no one likes working with jerks, even in pro sports. A coach like Collins is high-maintenance for his bosses: he has innumerable strong opinions, he can be a little passive-aggressive in talking about those opinions with the media, he makes the office a little less comfortable, and he stresses out the team's real assets (its players). If he's winning, a lot of that will be ignored. The players will be happier, his personnel demands will look more like tweaks and he'll be more pleasant with the media, which keeps the fire off of everyone. But the Sixers aren't winning, and they may have trouble winning next year, too.
Without the wins, he's not a demanding coach. He's just an annoyance. If you're going to lose either way, might as well do it with a coach whose presence you don't dread. As much as we like to think of sports as a meritocracy, it's also like the real working world in some ways. A desire to be surrounded by nice people is one of those ways. And Doug Collins just doesn't seem like a nice person to work with in this capacity.
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