The older I get, the more convinced I am that coaching matters.
When it comes to winning and losing, coaches make no actual plays on the field. But the position they put their players in to make plays is often the difference between winning and a long, lonely ride home to think about what woulda, coulda, shoulda been.
Make no mistake, there are some coaches who walk into a great opportunity with cupboards full of championship talent (retired Lakers coach Phil Jackson), but talent doesnít win without guidance.
NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan, arguably the best to ever lace up a pair of high-tops, didnít come close to a championship until Jackson became the coach.
Charlotte Bobcats head coach Mike Dunlap has won seven of his first 12 games as an NBA coach. Not a big deal unless that team is the Bobcats. Charlotteís win percentage of .106 last year stands as the worst in NBA history, besting the .110 win mark of the notorious 1972 to 73 Philadelphia 76ers, who went 9-73 in a standard 82-game season.
No statue will be erected outside the Time Warner Arena, but as someone who watched as many of the dreadful 2011 Bobcat games as I could stomach, this team is vastly improved.
Do the Bobcats have new talent? Yes, but in no way is a team that only won seven games all season improving this way without changes from the top down. Coaching matters when it comes to winning or losing.
Just like good coaching can make the difference between putting a team in position to win, bad coaching certainly gives even great teams a chance to lose.
The Dallas Cowboys have as much talent or more than most of the teams that are currently still in the playoff hunt and yet find themselves falling out of playoff contentions year after year. Iím not going to lay all of the Cowboy woes at the feet of head coach Jason Garrett, but he certainly hasnít done himself any favors.
In pro and college sports, the margin for error is minimal. Coaches are expected to handle time management, play calling, players and their assistant coaches. That alone is enough to deal with and then you put a fickle fan base on top of that, and coaching easily becomes one of the hardest jobs in the land.
Coaches, just like star players, often receive too much glory when things are going well and far too much blame when they arenít.