Is the specter of The Flip Saunders firing hanging over the heads of the Pistons front office? Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Tracking The Detroit Pistons Coaching Saga Under Joe Dumars


Since the Detroit Pistons fired Lawrence Frank they have been rumored to be interested in nearly every assistant and recycled head coach in the NBA.  My Brother-in-law Dan even got a call from the Pistons after leading my nephews sixth grade team to the playoffs but he declined to be interviewed saying that he needed something with more stability.

Stability. That is probably why the Detroit Pistons don’t get quality candidates anymore. Joe Dumars has fired 8 head coaches since he took over as Vice President of Player Personnel and the average life expectancy of a coach under his direction is about 2 years. That would make sense if all the coaches he hired had losing records but that is not the case. Between 2001 and 2008 Dumars fired three consecutive coaches with winning percentages over .600.

Here is the list of head coaches hired and fired by  Dumars and  their records:

  • 1998 -2000  -   Alvin Gentry   73-72
  • 2000 -2001  -  George Irvine  46-60
  • 2001 – 2003  -  Rick Carlisle    100-64  **2001-02 Coach of the Year
  • 2003 -2005  -  Larry Brown     108-56**2004 NBA Champions
  • 2005 – 2008  -  Flip Saunders  176-70
  • 2008 – 2009 –  Micheal Curry   39-43
  • 2009 – 2011 –   John Kuester     39-43
  • 2011 – 2013 –    Lawrence Frank 54-94
The Flip Saunders firing is the most unusual.  During his tenure with the Pistons flip Saunders lead the Detroit Pistons to three consecutive Eastern Conference finals while amassing 30-21 record in the playoffs.  In case you are keeping score at home, no pistons team has reached the Eastern Conference finals since much less the semi-finals.
So is the specter of the Flip Saunders firing hanging over the head of the Pistons front office?
Maybe.
One thing we do know is that owner Tom Gores has lost confidence in Dumars ability to choose a head coach. This week Joe Dumars will be speaking with new appointed Pistons advisor Phil Jackson. The move by Gores has lead to some speculation the Dumars may be on his last legs with the new Pistons ownership.
More Pistons news should break this week as Jackson weighs-in on the coaching search.  What could add additional pressure is the opening of several other head coaching positions The Zen Master has been linked to in recent weeks. The Nets and Clippers fired their coaches over the weekend so if Gores wants to have Phil Jackson running the Pistons he will have to make his decision quickly.
Stay logged on the Detroit Jock City for all the news and views related to the Detroit Pistons coaching search.

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