Los Angeles Lakers: The 5 Worst Head Coaches in Franchise History
The Lakers haven't had many dark periods throughout their history. The 16-time champions have been led by legendary coaches like Phil Jackson and Pat Riley.
But what about the times when the Lakers weren't so hot? Who were the Laker bench bosses during those periods?
Here are five head coaches that you don't hear about every day because of their poor coaching stints with the Purple and Gold.
5. Fred Schaus
Fred Schaus was the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers after they moved from Minneapolis. Schaus coached the team from 1959 to 1966, and in that span he was never able to defeat the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.
In fact, when he was coach, the Celtics won the title every single year as Red Auerbach rose to legendary status.
Schaus was a great regular season coach. Throughout his tenure, he had a 315-245 record. However, his troubles came in the playoffs, where he was 33-38.
Despite his regular season success, Schaus will always be remembered as the man who led the Lakers through their longest championship drought in franchise history and who saw the Boston Celtics begin their dynasty.
4. Rudy Tomjanovich
The Lakers hired Rudy Tomjanovich with the hopes of maintaining the contender status they had during the Phil Jackson three-peat.
Tomjanovich achieved moderate success, going 24-19, but he later resigned because of health issues.
No one knows how this Laker team would've finished had Rudy T stayed as head coach. It did have a major star with Kobe Bryant, and Lamar Odom was in his prime.
But looking at the performance of the Laker teams in the next two years with Phil Jackson, it could be said that, at best, the Lakers would've finished as a seventh or eighth seed before getting knocked out by a powerhouse.
3. Randy Pfund
Randy Pfund is probably one of the lesser-known head coaches amongst the new generation of Laker fans. This is because it was a tenure that is better forgotten than remembered.
He started coaching the Lakers in 1992-93. The Lakers finished under .500 at 39-43 and lost to the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs.
Pfund was fired the next season after a dismal 28-39 start to the season.
Pfund does get one major mulligan: Magic Johnson retired unexpectedly the season before Pfund took over the team, and he did not have much to work with.
That being said, Del Harris was able to turn the team around with young players like Nick Van Exel and Eddie Jones a few years later.
2. Magic Johnson
There was absolutely nothing magical about Magic's coaching career.
Legends oftentimes struggle when they become coaches. It may be because their talent was so elevated that they had a hard time grasping the fact that their players will never be able to play the way they did.
Wayne Gretzky failed as a hockey coach, and Magic Johnson failed as a basketball coach.
After the Lakers fired Randy Pfund, Bill Bertka took over for a game. After that, the Lakers let Magic finish the last 15 games of the season.
Johnson and the Lakers went 5-10 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 1976.
Magic was replaced by Del Harris, who elevated the Lakers back to respectability for the next several years.
1. Frank Hamblen
After Rudy Tomjanovich resigned in 2005, Frank Hamblen took over as head coach and was absolutely miserable. At this point, it seemed like he had lost the team before ever getting a grasp on it.
Hamblen finished the 2005 season going 10-29, and the Lakers missed the playoffs for the first time since 1993-94.
Following the disastrous 2005 season, Phil Jackson returned to the Lakers, and Hamblen has since served as an assistant