Stan Van Gundy: The Magic Man

Frances White@WestEndGirl62Analyst IIMay 27, 2009

ORLANDO, FL - MAY 08:  Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic shouts at his team against the Boston Celtics in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Amway Arena on May 8, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

Stan Van Gundy isn't very charismatic. He always dresses nice, but somehow he can't pull off the suave look his attire requires. His voice grates on his team and they sometimes tune him out. 

When he coached Miami he took a team with rookie Dwayne Wade, free agent pick-up Lamar Odom, and returning from injury, Caron Butler, to the conference semi-finals. 

He had a winning percentage of .605 with the Heat (112–73).

Well, we don't need to get into that but we all remember Pat Riley's knife in his back.

Through it all Stan said nothing, and stayed in the background while Riley took the team he groomed, sans Lamar Odom and Caron Butler, to the 2006 championship.

When Riley left the coaching chair for the Heat, Stan didn't blink. He simply looked up the road, loaded up the family, and moved to the Magic Kingdom where a gentle giant waited for him.

Riley was gracious enough to take a second round pick or the right to switch 2008 picks in exchange for Van Gundy.

Each year, under his tutelage, the Magic have improved. His first year, they won 52 games and advanced to the second round for the first time in 12 years.

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The 2009 season saw his team once again win their division and ended up with the third best record in the Eastern Conference. They finished the regular season at 59-23.

Orlando finally made it out of the second round by defeating the reigning NBA champion Boston Celtics. All the pundits, including myself, thought that they would lose especially after Howard blamed their game three loss on Van Gundy, stating that he needs to get the ball.

Everyone went crazy. Martic Gortac had already been on the record as saying Van Gundy panicked all the time. Echoes of Shaquille O'Neal's sound bite where he called Van Gundy the master of panic, was a constant on ESPN.

Now it seemed like Dwight was joining the bandwagon condemning his coach. There were even snippets of "he should be fired" coming from the media. 

The Amway King himself said relax, Stan isn't going anywhere. Instead of fracturing the team, Dwight's comments seem to bring them together. Howard had a heart-to-heart with Stan and found that it wasn't the coach but that he was the problem.

They closed out the Celtics in seven and now hold a 3-1 lead on the Cleveland Cavaliers. A team that was predicted to run the gamut and win the NBA championship this year.

He has left Mike Brown and the "Anointed One" wondering through his courtyard looking for help that will never come.

Van Gundy will never be remembered for his good looks or personal charm. Yet somehow his teams keep beating the best the league has to offer. 

Somewhere in the background you can here Orlando fan's singing, "try to understand, try to understand, try, try, try to understand, he's the magic man."

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