McCann: A disturbing trend in coaching changes

Jul. 10, 2014 @ 11:00 PM

That back-door cut Jason Kidd put on Larry Drew to take his job was like those screens high school administrators around here are ducking behind to get free and make moves to acquire the coaches they want.

Kidd was in Durham last year when the Brooklyn Nets held training camp at Duke University, where Jabari Parker was settling in for his freshman season.

At some point, the large responsibility of coaching the Nets wasn't enough for Kidd. He wanted more power than Nets general manager Billy King, who, by the way, played at Duke.

Well, Kidd didn't get his way and behaved like a kid and pulled that sucker move, schmoozing with past business partner and new Bucks owner Marc Lasry to become Milwaukee's coach, stealing the job from Drew.

Now Kidd gets to coach Parker, the Bucks’ No. 2 overall selection in June's NBA draft.

Former North Carolina forward John Henson also plays for the Bucks.

Milwaukee gets a big name in Kidd. The Bucks need it, too. They've been horrible, the worst team in the league last season.

If Kidd does not improve the Bucks, then we'll keep talking about his slimy backdoor cut.

But if the Bucks get better, then Kidd will find himself comfortable enough to own his mess while we as fair-weather fans applaud the franchise for getting the right guy.

It would be one of the classic examples of rationalization, sort of like how the academic scandal with UNC's athletes gets pooh-poohed in the name of that sort of thing going on all over the country. But wrong is wrong, and it's always right to do right — even roughly a decade later, as Rashad McCants is demonstrating.

High schools figure in here because at least four winning basketball coaches in this area lost their positions rather inexplicably. Monique Fearrington no longer is the girls' basketball coach at Southern High School. Lason Perkins was the boys' interim head coach at Chapel Hill High School but didn't get the permanent gig. Crasten Davis is out as the boys' coach at Hillside High School. Same thing with former Voyager coach Patrick Walton. All of those coaches had their teams in the playoffs last season.

Durham Public Schools athletics director Larry McDonald said it's not always about wins and losses when coaches aren't retained.

High school coaches in both DPS and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools don't have long-term contracts. They coach from season to season and essentially are free agents after their last games. But they don't have great options. All it takes for them to get bumped from their benches is for principals and athletics directors to talk generically about wanting their programs to go in different directions. That's it. No further explanation needed.

That's too much power.

If it really is more about relationships, then somebody explain Perkins' former players and coaches showing up at a school-board meeting to let the politicians know it'd be a mistake to hand over the program to somebody else, because the Tigers perennially win lots of games before going to college.

And if it's not about winning games, then are you telling me that coaches with losing records wouldn't get run out of town as long as the fans knew they had great relationships with their players?

At least college and NBA coaches still get their money when they're dumped.

But on the high school level, cut coaches not only lose their little stipends but also their platforms for impacting young people.

John McCann is on Twitter: @johntmccann. Email him at