Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Do We Need A Patrick Roy Theory?

Over at Battle of Alberta, Matt has put up an interesting post about Patrick Roy and his successes with the Quebec Remparts. It comes out of an old conversation on the BoA blog about whether or not dominant sports athletes can end up being successful coaches. I don't want to comment on the larger question of sports icons making good coaches, but I do think that the sample size is still too small to properly judge Roy. There could be any number of factors determining the team's good play (i.e. health, scheduing, opposition, hot goalie). We will have to wait a year to properly judge his achievements.

It does beg another, even bigger question, however. If Roy does end up being a successful coach this year, should there be a theory to coincide with the Patrick Ewing Theory? The Patrick Roy theory would in essence dictate that a team gets hot and goes on a spectacular run when a new coach takes it over at some point during the regular season. Numerous examples must exist, right? Jack McKeon immediately comes to my mind. The Florida Marlins were 19-29 when he took over the team in 2003. They had the worst record in the Majors. After McKeon was hired, they went 72-42, ending the season with a 91-71 record. In the post-season, everything went right. Pudge made that tag out on Snow to push the Fish past the Giants, "The Inning" happened against the Cubs, and Josh Beckett destroyed the Yankees to help the team win the World Series in six games (he also threw a complete game shut out against the Cubs when they were down 3 games to 1). Throw in Dontrelle Willis going 9-1 in his first 13 starts as a rookie, and the Marlins could do no wrong.

I am still thinking this through, but I thought I would put it out there for others to explore. Lots of question come to my mind in determining some parameters for the theory--like whether the coach is only successful for the one year or many years after he takes over the team--but I guess it depends on how Roy and the Remparts do on the season. Actually, calling it the Jack McKeon theory might be more appropriate. Having the double Patrick theory adds a sense of poetry and gravitas to it though, don't you think? Plus, Roy as a player was basically the anti-Ewing. The Avalanche won the Stanley Cup when he was traded to Colorado in 1996, and the Canadians failed to improve in his absence.


At 6:41 PM, Blogger Alex said...

Don't forget about Larry Robinson, who led the Devils to the 2000 Cup after taking over with 8 games to play in the regular season.

At 3:08 PM, Blogger sacamano said...

Yep, I was going to mention Robinson too.

It seems like a good case could be made for a Robinson Theory in which a coach takes over someone else's team and wins the cup being called a genius in doing so, only to demonstrate in subsequent years that perhaps he wasn't the key afterall.

Whatshisname Fischer(?) at UMichigan Hoops would be another candidate for this.


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