Mike Brown was fired by the Los Angeles Lakers today. The team started 1-4 and despite the fact that they hadn't had the services of the injured Steve Nash, owner Jim Buss and General Manager Mitch Kupchak had seen enough.
A search for his permanent replacement has commenced with Bernie Bickerstaff serving as interim coach.
Why mention this on a UCLA sports blog?
Because while there are definitely differences between a professional sports franchise and a collegiate athletic department, the Lakers' decision is a great example of an organization admitting it had erred and taking swift, decisive action to rectify the mistake.
This has long been an overlooked but essential part of the Lakers' success. Jerry West was a great GM, he was great at acquiring talent through trade, draft and free agency. But he was also great about getting rid of players (players he had brought in) when they didn't work out and getting rid of them quickly. He was quick to pull the trigger on coaches, too.
It seems his successors with the Lakers have learned this lesson well.
Now, I don't feel the need to delineate specifics about how this differs from how business is conducted at UCLA. If you are a long time reader of this blog, you are well equipped to fill in those blanks. If you aren't -- post a specific question below and someone will answer.
The point is: Sometimes GMs make mistakes. Sometimes athletic directors make mistakes. The real sin, the real calamity, the real failure of the most basic way of doing business is not quickly admitting one's mistake and taking swift action to correct it.
See, the Lakers have a six game home stand coming up, five of the games are likely wins. Had they let Brown coach those games and had the Lakers gone 5-1 -- they would have been stuck with him. So, they didn't give him the chance for temporary redemption.
Let me ask you this: If Mitch Kupchak were UCLA's AD, would Karl Dorrell have lasted five years? Would Rick Neuheisel have lasted four years? Hell, would Ben Howland still be UCLA's head basketball coach?
You tell me.