That’s the Spirit! Let Drew coach both Hawks and Thrashers

Hey, how hard could coaching be if Teflon Don Waddell did it? (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

How hard could coaching be if Don Waddell did it? (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Fact: The Hawks just hired Larry Drew, the cheapest option available, as their head coach.

Fact: The Thrashers have been without a head coach for 67 days.

Fact: The Atlanta Spirit, which owns both clubs, conceded Friday that it is seeking additional investors while insisting the teams aren’t for sale, which is kind of like saying, “We’re not selling — but we’d love it if you’d make us an offer.”

Conclusion: The Spirit, its protestations notwithstanding, is strapped for cash.

Solution: Have Larry Drew coach both teams.

I know, I know. You’re saying, “It’ll never work.” But you, I contend, are the same sort of stick-in-the-muds who told Ben Franklin not to bother flying his kite in the thunderstorm. Me, I’m Mr. Outside-The-Box. And Mr. Thrift, too! (Think of me as a cross between MacGyver and Clark Howard.) I really feel this is a dollar-stretching no-brainer, and I demonstrate by anticipating your quibbles.

1. Drew doesn’t know anything about hockey. Who cares? He’s supposed to know something about basketball, but Mike Woodson apparently never listened to him. He should be used to being ignored.

2. They’re radically different sports. They’re both played indoors. Close enough.

3. The Hawks and Thrashers often play on the same night. Yes, but only one team can play at Philips Arena at a time, which is all that matters to the Spirit. (The group also owns the building.) Have Drew coach the home games for each club. Philips ticket-holders would welcome the continuity, and just think of the savings! No hotel suite for the head coach, no room-service charges, no cabs to the road arena …

4. Being without a head coach on the road would put both clubs at a competitive disadvantage. Oh, really? The Hawks stink on the road. (Recent score: Magic 114, Hawks 71.) How much worse can they get? And losing every good player they’ve ever had has, I submit, put the Thrashers at a greater loss. My penny-wise credo: No money for a head coach equals more money for the next Ilya Kovalchuk.

5. The NHL would never go for letting a basketball man coach hockey. As far as I can tell, the NHL isn’t aware the Thrashers exist. Otherwise how could Gary Bettman allow Teflon Don Waddell to stay in place as general manager — and sometimes as coach — for more than a decade?

6. Joe Johnson would never re-sign with a team that wasn’t going to have a head coach present at all games. Are you serious? This would be the greatest recruiting pitch the Hawks could make. Think about it: “Joe, we know our new coach has been saying he wants you to share the ball more, but don’t mind him — he’s not even going to be there half the time. You can dribble and shoot to your heart’s content. Sign here.”

7. It would give the Atlanta Spirit a lousy public image. Sorry, but that ship sailed when Steve Belkin and the other owners started suing each other.

8. Atlanta fans will demand better. If the Spirit cared about Atlanta fans, would it have dumped Woodson just to promote his assistant? Would it have tried to sell Drew, who has been here since 2004, as some new voice? I mean, come on.

You see? Every one of your objections, deftly skewered. (Just call me Perry Mason. Which would, I fear, make you Hamilton Burger, who lost more often than the Hawks and Thrashers combined.)

And what I haven’t mentioned is the increased crossover potential for the players. Think of Zach Bogosian shooting for three points, as opposed to shooting from the point. Think of Josh Smith between the pipes, as opposed to above the rim.  Best of all, think of Zaza Pachulia given license to wear pads and start fights.

Tell me you wouldn’t buy a ticket to see Zaza flatten that shrimp Chris Pronger. I double-dog dare you.

123 comments Add your comment

Tony from Stone Mountain

June 21st, 2010
1:14 pm

Mark Bradley

June 21st, 2010
1:15 pm

T from SM, consider yourself kudo-ed.

Bobby

June 21st, 2010
1:17 pm

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

June 21st, 2010
1:19 pm

close again but no piece of pie

Spud Webb

June 21st, 2010
1:21 pm

I love it. Agreed, let’em coach both. He cannot do any worse than anybody the Thrashers have had. H&ll, if the ASG REALLY wants to save money, fire both GM’s also and let Drew do it all!

HawkKingBibby

June 21st, 2010
1:21 pm

M.B. Im pondering whether or not you have taken this too far. Even further than the average angry Hawks fan would take it. Nope you havent, good stuff. Is it possible you feel the fans pain?

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

June 21st, 2010
1:21 pm

thats a good idea mark but how about a promotion where during each home game they have a drawing before the game and the fan that has the winning ticket gets to coach the team that night? and let Drew coach the road games so we would be combining the two ideas ?

Paul Westphal

June 21st, 2010
1:22 pm

HawkKingBibby

June 21st, 2010
1:23 pm

Can any of the Hawks ice skate? Id like to see ZaZa in front of the net. Would it count if it goes in off his forehead?

F-105 Thunderchief

June 21st, 2010
1:26 pm

Which makes you wonder this: If Lt. Tragg and Hamilton Burger always got the wrong man or woman, what about the poor suckers who couldn’t get Perry Mason to defend them?

Wrecker

June 21st, 2010
1:30 pm

Now that was a good read Mark!

TONE

June 21st, 2010
1:30 pm

Matlock would walk the floor with perry mason !

GT alumni

June 21st, 2010
1:32 pm

Mark i’m sorry but that is a terrible idea. There’s no way it would work. It would definitely save money but i think it would really hurt both teams in the long run. are the ownerships really thinking about doing this? if so i’m not going to anymore games

Georgia Tech administration, staff, students and alumni

June 21st, 2010
1:34 pm

Dear GT Alumni, please send us back the degree until you learn what sarcasm is. Thanks for your kind attention to this matter.

ThrashersFAN

June 21st, 2010
1:37 pm

this is the stupidest article ever written! what is up with “the NHL isn’t aware the Thrashers exist” can you come up with something better than this statement????
AJC needs to find better writers!!! no wonder everyone unsubscribes from the ajc

PMC

June 21st, 2010
1:37 pm

sigh…..If this town had a Russian billionare instead of a disfunctional family in possession of 2 major sports teams people might be pursuaded to spend thier money and time in Phillips Arena.

It’s not like it’s a bad fan experience, but people aren’t stupid and Atlanta simply won’t pay to go see a substandard product for longer than the novelty lasts anyway.

The Hawks can’t compete without an elite backcourt and true center.

The Thrashers….just really need an injection of money and competant leadership. Dudley is that guy I think. The coach is ancillary to just getting the right pieces really. Don Waddell struck out for a freaking decade…. having a bad leader for that long is just going to bore people to death. They already have more of a chance with Dudley.

Astro Joe

June 21st, 2010
1:38 pm

Mark, I think you have been officially removed for the ASG’s holiday email list… cards were never an option, they require postage, so email was always the likely delivery vehicle. You’ll be invited over for a Thanksgiving Day dinner with the Hewitt family before you get best wishes for glad tidings from the ASG.

TONE

June 21st, 2010
1:38 pm

LAUGHING at GT alumni and hoping its a joke.

Nesbit 4 Heisman

June 21st, 2010
1:40 pm

Mark this article is ridiculous. There is no way Larry Drew could coach both the Thrashers and the Hawks. No wonder your such a uga-g fan

GT alumni

June 21st, 2010
1:44 pm

oh my.. i just reread it and realized he wasn’t being serious. I was busy playing World of Warcraft so i just read the title and first few lines

Varvatos

June 21st, 2010
1:44 pm

GT alumni. If that was your attempt at sarcasm; please refer to the article above the comments section for proper execution. If , by chance, you’re not joking; please stop representing Tech.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by . said: [...]

PaulHewittFanClub

June 21st, 2010
1:47 pm

Hire Paul Hewitt!

Najeh Davenpoop

June 21st, 2010
1:51 pm

The sad thing is I’m sure they have considered something like this at some point. Maybe not hiring the same coach, but I’m sure they have thought about hiring one GM for both teams.

PMC

June 21st, 2010
1:53 pm

I wonder if they are as bad as the Clippers owners… bring your own soap and cold showers.

MatthewH

June 21st, 2010
1:56 pm

I just want the picture of the Thrasher’s bench with those two ladies behind it. What happened to that one?

anotherdawg

June 21st, 2010
2:02 pm

Thrashers might want to consider Bobby Petrino. He and hockey are the same.

Khao$

June 21st, 2010
2:05 pm

Excellent article Mark! Way to not let these cheap losers off the hook! They don’t have what it takes to put a competitive team on the court or the ice. Now is not the time for this city to be silent, when it pertains to these teams. The ASG is simply awful!

JC

June 21st, 2010
2:06 pm

Why not sell it off as a fan experience? If you buy season tickets, you get to coach the Thrashers for one game! Enfranchises the fans, brings in revenue instead of spending it and delivers at least as many W’s as John Anderson got. Sign me up!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley, Lisa Lopez. Lisa Lopez said: LmaoRT @MarkBradleyAJC: A modest proposal: The Atlanta Spirit should have Larry Drew coach both the Hawks and Thrashers http://bit.ly/ciDvGR [...]

NORMAN

June 21st, 2010
2:09 pm

ok men we are going to run the picket fence on em over and over. when run the correct way this play cannot be stopped. just make sure we get the ball to smoove for the three our opponents will never see it coming.

Mark Bradley

June 21st, 2010
2:21 pm

I have no idea what MatthewH is talking about. Unless it’s this.

Barnacle Bill Bavasi

June 21st, 2010
2:26 pm

Yeah, that’s the only Thrasher’s pic I’ve ever enjoyed.

Mark Bradley

June 21st, 2010
2:27 pm

It is a handsome photo of John Anderson, Barnacle Bill Bavasi.

OSCAR

June 21st, 2010
2:28 pm

Barnacle Bill Bavasi

June 21st, 2010
2:28 pm

Oh, is that the name of the lady in the light green shirt?

Mr. Obvious

June 21st, 2010
2:36 pm

For once, I agree with “Sports Illustrated” on something, particularly regarding the Atlanta Spirit Group being cheap AND incompetent.

When it comes to incompetence, mismanagement & lack of leadership skills, Atlanta Spirit Group is the “O bama Administration” of professional sports ownership.

My Hawks tickets will not be renewed until there is a legitimate regime change at Philips Arena.

Jay

June 21st, 2010
2:40 pm

Man, I wish I can clown around at work by writing BS articles…

GSU Eagle 91

June 21st, 2010
2:45 pm

Let’s see….Why don’t we give Jerry Glanville a call? He could get fans to come to Phillips Arena with a few well-timed stunts….I know he knows nothing about coaching hockey, but why would that matter around here?
If not Jerry, here are a few other “prime” choices….
Reggie Ball
Ted Roof
Ray Goff

MsDee

June 21st, 2010
2:46 pm

LOL..I dont know which one was the funniest, Mark’s article or GT Alumni’s response!! ‘LOL!!!!!

Hawks2010

June 21st, 2010
2:56 pm

Mark, that’s your funniest since “the worst game ever played” article.
Rick Sund, unfortunately, is maybe the first Hawks’ GM with a clue.
But he can’t overcome the ASG.
If you wanted to know right off the bat what the Hawks would provide the city of Atlanta, the Paul Silas trade for a worthless white player (about 1968) just to get a white guy set the tone for decades of pathetic moves.
No we aren’t a pro basketball town if we have clowns for GMs.

Smoothie

June 21st, 2010
3:05 pm

Do you honestly get paid to write this crap? Is this supposed to be tongue-in-cheek funny? I couldn’t even finish reading it was so lame.

Why don’t you try writing a blog on the World Cup since you know as much about soccer as you do hockey?

Jeff

June 21st, 2010
3:09 pm

Why not….it couldn’t hurt.

Ted Striker

June 21st, 2010
3:12 pm

That is truly some funny stuff, Mark!

Steve

June 21st, 2010
3:13 pm

One of the more enjoyable sports reads this side of Furman B. Thanks Mark. I usually try to find faults in your posts and riducule them, but this one got it about right.

I couldn’t believe Larry Drew was even in the running, and now that he has won the job I would be in complete shock if I hadn’t already built up a tolerance for idiocy thanks to the Hawks past moves. Let me just state this, since Mike Fratello left the Hawks have actually done a poorer (or is that more poor) job of hiring coaches than the Thrashers. I didn’t think it was possible, but at this point, I think there is no doubt. Trying to pass of Woodson as some new relevation is ridiculous and a complete slap in the face for true basketball fans. They hired him because he was cheap and the players wouldn’t mutiny .. end of story.

GT Alum

June 21st, 2010
3:18 pm

Mark’s apparently trying to find his inner Lewis Grizzard.

Peter

June 21st, 2010
3:21 pm

Thank you Mark for telling the story of how sorry the franchise actually is……..dealing with them from a business point of view is as bad.

Fresh

June 21st, 2010
3:29 pm

This is some funny stuff LOL!!! But sad also because it’s reality here in Atlanta SMDH.

Gwinnett Fred

June 21st, 2010
3:33 pm

Gee Mark – thanks for taking our give & take earlier today and grabbing full credit for the idea.

George

June 21st, 2010
3:36 pm

Let the fans have a shot at coaching both teams. Each week, have a drawing for something that could be called “Coach the Chumps.” Those chosen would be paid a per-game fee equivalent to one-half of what the most recent full-time coach made per game. Bonuses could be given to fans who actually coach in winning games. I have a suspicion that the season winning percentages of the Hawks and Flames would improve or get no worse at half the cost. Fans would love it! While I’m on a roll here, let the fans do the announcing. Those chosen would have to correctly diagram eight of ten sentences. Boy, I’m I bored.