How important is a player and coach relationship now as appose to the past?
Bill: The manager in the past when I used to play ball did not seem to be that important to the team and the players but as I have gotten older I have seen how managers make a big difference. I was thinking about the past and now how we have new managers for the Chicago Cubs, new Head Coach for the Chicago Bears and they have personnel who is there that has been built up. These coaches come in to teams with such an impact and I was thinking back to Cubs manager Leo Durocher. Ernie Banks and Ron Santo were there at the time and thinking about Banks and his relationship with Durocher. I think the main reason why the Cubs were so liked was because they became a sort of pet to the town. The town took them in mainly because of Banks’ personality, Williams’s personality, and Durocher’s personality.
Russell: At first I didn’t think it mattered because I thought the players are the ones out there playing and the managers were just managing. Then the players got Mike Ditka and then changed my philosophy because he made the Bears a lot tougher than they originally were. The team was there; they had players but just couldn’t get over the hump and in come Ditka and bam, Superbowl! Same thing happened with the Chicago Bulls during the Michael Jordan era because they won games but couldn’t get over the hump but in come Phil Jackson and championships. One more person I have to talk about and that is the coach of the San Antonio Spurs, Gregg Popovich. He makes a difference, a big difference because he makes a team with no name players, broken players and I don’t know how he finds these guys but they respect him. If he says go sit down they sit down and some players have a certain attitude that love to talk back but they can’t have that. Popovich, Ditka, and Phil were all tough guys and didn’t handle any of that.
John: The player and coach relationship is totally different than free agency period. Back in the 50’s and 60’s you had to listen to the coach because it’s either my way or the highway. Nowadays in the pro-business most of the players and coaches have a sort of partnership so, now coaches have to deal with more is how to deal with players in today’s world.
Bill: The earlier managers back in the day might or might have not even played the sport they are coaching but nowadays you need to have some sort of credentials. I think that’s one reason why Phil Jackson came in and won because he had been on championship teams and he knew how to facilitate and get players to their higher levels as appose to using force or contracts because the players had a lot more money. Coaches and players nowadays are starting to get paid and it’s gone up.
John: That is right, sort of a partnership. Most of the coaches now are not military discipline and that is bad because you need to have discipline. You can’t just let the players run wild.
Bill: I believe the relationship between the key players and coaches is every important. Having a relationship with a player on the court and a coach on the sideline is very important both psychologically and psychically. For example Ozzie Guillen and Paul Konerko from the Chicago White Sox, they liked each other and they created…
John: A wonder and tremendous relationship.