"Win the crowd and you will win your freedom." -Proximo from the movie Gladiator
When a talented athlete performs well, he has immense power.
When a talented athlete fails to perform well, he still has immense power.
Thus there are two classes of coach killers—the Michael Jordans and the Michael Vicks.
Jordans of course, bedazzle with their legendary play. They win the loyalty of fans, teammates and owners. They run the team.
Vicks frustrate with their failure to live up to their potential, but they still have the loyalty of fans, teammates and owners. Blame for their lack of performance goes right to the man with the playbook.
What follows are wanted posters for 15 players accused of the heinous act of coach-a-cide.
Click on, and play the judge.
Guilty or innocent?
Suspect: Michael Jeffrey Jordan
Aliases: MJ, Air Jordan, His Airness
Wanted for questioning in the killing of Doug Collins.
Modus Operandi: Have petty arguments with coach ("Jordan said the [practice] score was 5-4, while Collins said it was 5-3"), sulk when coach tells you not to practice in the summer, sulk when you have to play point guard to help the team, nudge coach out of a job.
Suspect: Vince Paul Young, Jr.
Alias: VY, InVINCEible
Wanted for questioning in the killing of Jeff Fisher.
While it seems at first that it was Fisher that offed Young, (Young was released before Fisher was cut loose) it looks like this could be a case of M.A.C.H. (mutual assured career homicide).
After the Titan's star left, Fisher (a.k.a. Coach .500 or Coacho Ocho) became vulnerable.
Modus Operandi: Haunting comments from VY lingered and malingered:
"I didn’t feel like (Fisher) trusted me. In the five years I was there, I was always looking over my shoulder. I didn’t feel like I was his guy all the way. I put in a lot of work and my stats and my winning, it showed I had grown."
Suspect: Deron Michael Williams
Aliases: Slick, Willie, D-Willie
Wanted for questioning in the killing of Jerry Sloan.
Modus Operandi: Sulk when coach doesn't play him enough rookie season, pretend to smooth things over in subsequent years to the point that coach lets him call plays, then arrive at the point where he picks his own play over his coach's. Have ensuing argument, drive coach off.
Suspect: Susan Jacobse (mother of Estero High School varsity cheerleader)
Aliases: None known
Wanted for questioning in the killing of Nicole Zivich, varsity cheerleading head coach.
Modus Operandi: Send emails to school board, superintendent and principal complaining—at first—about safety issues in regards to coach's choice of cheer stunts, then about expensive cheer uniforms, bikini car wash fundraisers, too many tryouts, mandatory practices.
Then shows true colors and complain that the coach (pictured above on the right) is a Hooters waitress.
E-mails from the angry parent called Zivich an "inexperienced 24-year-old Hooters waitress" with "no professional credentials."
Another e-mail proclaimed that Jacobse's daughter "won't be waiting tables" like her coach.
Suspect: DeMarcus Cousins
Aliases: Boogie, Silverback, Big Cuz, Big Marc, Curley
Wanted for questioning in the killing of Paul Westphal.
"I don't know what that was. Running the offense coach tells us to run. Just doing what coach say. Got to do what your coach say."
Allegedly demand to be traded.
Then sit back and watch coach disappear.
Suspect: Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior
Wanted for questioning in the killing of Dorival Júnior.
Get banned for two games.
Be so damned talented that the team's board of directors opts to punish coach instead.
Suspect: Carmelo Kiyan Anthony
Wanted for questioning in the killing of Mike D'Antoni.
Note: At this point, is it safe to say that when a star player "asks to be traded," it's just a euphemism for "demands the coach be fired"?
(Much like when a veterinarian tells you he is just putting your sick pooch "to sleep.")
Suspect: Earvin Johnson Jr.
Aliases: Magic, Buck, EJ
Wanted for questioning in the killing of Paul Westhead.
Modus Operandi: Win an NBA championship with coach. Hit a minor slump. Complain that coach is running offense too slowly.
Demand to be traded. (Remember that this is a euphemism. See author's note in previous slide.)
After coach is taken down, announce that getting paid millions of dollars to play a game (and win) just hadn't been enough fun under the old regime.
Suspect: John Joseph Harrington, Jr.
Aliases: Joey, The Piano Man, Joey Heisman, Joey Blue Skies, Joey Sunshine, The Savior of Detroit
Wanted for questioning in the killing of Steve Mariucci.
In all fairness, another suspect in this case is Jeff Garcia. According to Jeff Corbett of USA Today:
"Mariucci got fired because he believed he had a better chance of winning with gimpy-legged, weak-armed Jeff Garcia over Millen's quarterback, Joey Harrington."
Suspect: Mario Lemieux
Aliases: Super Mario, Mario Le Magnifique, Mr. 66, The Greatest One
Wanted for questioning in the killing of Scotty Bowman.
Let it be known that Lemieux is a very debatable suspect and the information listed in the following M.O. is largely undocumented by reliable sources.
But as the famous line from Scream goes: "...you can only hear that Richard Gere gerbil story so many times before you have to start believing it."
And, as this quote from a former player demonstrates, Bowman was largely unpopular: “We hated him for 364 days of the year. On day 365, you collected your Stanley Cup ring.”
Modus Operandi: Have spat with the winningest coach in NFL history and resent his attention to building up the defense.
Give owners a choice between superstar player and superstar coach. Um, which one was it that fans come out to see?
Aliases: None Known
Wanted for questioning in the killing Playboy site of Carlie Beck, a.k.a. Carlie Christine, the coach of the cheerleading squad for Casa Roble High School.
Modus Operandi: Rack up unexcused cheerleading practices. Get banned from following year's tryouts.
Dig up dirt on coach for revenge. Hit the jackpot with discovery that coach was Playboy's February 2009 Cyber Girl of the Week.
Suspect: Alexander Mikhaylovich Ovechkin
Aliases: Ovie, OV-1, Alexander the Great
Wanted for questioning in the killing of Bruce Boudreau.
Modus Operandi: Be one of the best players ever, but fail to win a Stanley Cup. Make people wonder why a coach can't win with such amazing talent at his disposal.
Oh, and toss a couple of f-bombs around (on camera) so people know about displeasure with coach.
Suspect: Michael Dwayne Vick
Aliases: Ron Mexico, Ookie
Wanted for questioning in the killing of Jim Mora, Jr. (and Dan Reeves?)
According to Off the Record's Micah Warren, "while Vick had jaw-dropping ability, his awful attitude and approach to the game combined with his poor decision making on the field, were a big problem."
Modus Operandi: Play to potential inconsistently. Get injured frequently. Make owners and fans wonder why coach can't produce more wins from such an immensely talented player.
Suspect: The Ottawa Sentors
Alias: The Sens
Wanted for questioning in the killings of Bryan Murray, John Paddock, Craig Hartsburg and Cory Clouston.