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Monday (What Minnesota coaches didn't you want fired?) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Twins fans, Vikings, Gophers Updated: March 25, 2013 - 10:17 AM

As we thought last night about Tubby Smith's tenure at Minnesota, we thought more about the nature of the coaching business in general -- and the relationship between coaches and fans. From the outside looking in, Smith has done a credible job here as Gophers basketball coach. Minnesota has gone to the NCAA tournament in three of his six years and he presided over the program's first tourney win since 1990 (officially) or 1997 (unofficially) on Friday.

From the inside out, though, many believe Smith's teams have underachieved, that he is much to blame for that and that he should be fired.

From there, we wondered this: How many coaches in Minnesota sports history did fans NOT want fired at some point or another. We're not talking about one lone fan. We're talking about at least a large minority, if not majority.

We could think of exactly three from the major men's sports: Jacques Lemaire, Rick Adelman and Bud Grant. You can correct us if those gentlemen were on a real hot seat at some point, but we think of them as generally in good standing with fans.

On the women's side, Cheryl Reeve and Brad Frost are held in about as high esteem as possible right now.

Flip Saunders was generally well received by fans, but there was some growing unrest the year he was fired (2004-05 season). Ron Gardenhire has his share of detractors. Even Tom Kelly did toward the end of his time, even though he had shown what he could do when given talent. Same with Don Lucia, though his pendulum is swinging back up.

Mike Yeo runs hot and cold. A month ago he was on the hot seat. Now he's a genius. Same goes with Leslie Frazier from 2012 vs. 2011. 

We get enough e-mails to know what vocal fans think of Smith and Pam Borton. It's still early for Jerry Kill, though two camps seem to be forming. Brad Childress? An all-timer when it comes to polarizing coaches, along with Denny Green. Both had success. Both lost whatever equity they had with fans as soon as they stopped having success.

Whether it's attitude, perceived underachievement, flat-out losing or in-game decision-making, most coaches generally fall out of favor with fans at some point. We're not sure if that says more about coaches or fans, but we believe it to be true.


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