When it comes to coaching, a termination is much more than the loss of a job. It has the potential to tarnish one's reputation and damage a coaching career for life. For the most part, coaches are measured on their wins and losses. They depend on the talent, health, and cooperation of their players to make wins happen, but when the team falls short, somebody is to blame. And as the figurehead of team, it's typically the coaches who get the boot first. Sometimes the win-loss ratio isn't the problem at all, but actually an issue of insubordination or bad judgment on the coach's part. But are these good enough reasons to fire a coach and damage the team morale? If everyone deserves a second chance, then maybe we should reconsider the fairness in these eight coaches' dismissals.
Former Toronto Raptors coach Sam Mitchell may have been honored as the NBA's coach of the year for 2006-2007, but his unfair termination proves that even the league's most prestigious awards don't hold much weight if your team isn't winning. Toronto decided to let go of Mitchell after only 17 games into the 2008-2009 season and a disappointing 8-9 start, which was mostly due to injuries. Although Mitchell's last season was an ugly one, he did help rebuild the Raptors and propel them into the playoffs during his last two seasons.
In 2009, the Kansas City Chiefs took a chance on a young, lightly experienced Todd Haley and gave him the job as head coach. In Haley's second season, he helped bring the Chiefs its first AFC West championship since 2003 and finish the season with an impressive 10-6 record. In 2010, the Chiefs made a six-win improvement, marking the franchise's biggest victory jump ever. But the 2011 season proved to be less than stellar, falling to a 5-8 record before he was pulled from his role as head coach.
The firing of Boston Red Sox coach Terry Francona in 2011 was a controversial decision considering the incredible record the team had under his eight years of coaching. Last year was one of the most unforgiving seasons for Francona and the Red Sox, who went 7-20 during the month of September and had one of the worst collapses in MLB history. It was the last straw for Francona, and he was let go at the end of the season. It was an ugly showing on his part, but what about all of the amazing records and milestones Francona helped bring to Boston? Under Francona, the Red Sox won 744 games and took home two World Series titles in 2004 and 2007, which ended the legendary "Curse of the Bambino." What else could Boston ask for?
Texas Tech's decision to fire football coach Mike Leach was a controversial one that left many wondering if it was justified or set up. Leach coached for nine years at Tech and helped propel the team to new heights. The Red Raiders quickly became known for their high-scoring offense and dramatic comeback victories. 2008 was a great year for the Red Raiders, who defeated the No. 1 Texas Longhorns and ended the regular season with an 11-1 record. Leach won several awards and honors for the successful season, including "Big 12 Coach of the Year" by the Associated Press and the 2008 George Munger Award. In the December 2009, Coach Leach was suspended by Texas Tech in relation to an investigation of alleged mistreatment of one of his players, Adam James. Although Leach denied the allegations, he was fired for insubordination because he refused to apologize to James.
Bill Belichick has certainly had a successful career coaching the New England Patriots over the last 11 years, but before he was winning Super Bowls with Tom Brady and Co., he was busy rebuilding the Cleveland Browns franchise from 1991-1995. As head coach of the Browns, Belichick helped lead the problematic team to a 36-44 record and get them to the playoffs in 1994. Despite the noticeable improvements, the Browns continued to disappoint both offensively and defensively, and Belichick was let go by owner Art Modell before he moved the team to Baltimore.
After wrapping up an 8-8 season, the Oakland Raiders fired coach Hue Jackson after just one year of coaching. Over the last seven years, the Raiders have become notorious for firing coaches every one to two years, which has left many players and fans frustrated beyond belief. Jackson was the fifth coach the team has had in seven years. Although the season ended with a handful of losses and a devastating 28-27 loss at home, Jackson wasn't given enough time to show what else he could do for the team.
Roger Neilson was a legendary hockey coach who, despite his important contributions to the game, was consistently mistreated by those above him. During his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Neilson helped lead the team to a .500 record and a conference final with a 41-29-10 record. The following year, Neilson was fired by the owner, Harold Ballard, because the team was having a bad slump. But when the owner couldn't find a replacement, he was forced to hire back the distraught Neilson and even asked if he would wear a paper bag over his head for more publicity, but like any self-respecting coach, Neilson refused to do it.
Avery Johnson has been praised for rebuilding the Dallas Mavericks and guiding the once lowly team to the highest winning percentage in franchise history. Under Avery, the Mavericks made their very first NBA Finals appearance in 2006. The following year, the team and its beloved coach set an NBA record for winning 67 regular-season games over the course of Johnson's first 82 games as coach. But the winning streak came to a halt in the 2007-2008 season, when the Mavs failed to make it past the first round of the playoffs and Johnson was sadly let go as head coach.