Someone over at Madison Square Garden reconsidered their decision, and I’m glad they did!
In a statement released earlier this afternoon, the New York Liberty announced the re-hiring of recently fired head coach, Bill Laimbeer. The 2X NBA Champion served as both head coach and general manager for the franchise during the 2013 and 2014 seasons, with a combined record of 26-42. After failing to make the playoffs this season, the Liberty decided not to exercise his option year. According to Sr. VP of Business Ops Kristen Bernert:
“Our goal is to ensure that the Liberty return to their position as one of the most consistently competitive and successful teams in the WNBA….We spent a great deal of time on how to move forward to ensure both immediate and long-term success, and kept coming back to Bill. He’s had tremendous success in the WNBA, and we are confident that he is the right coach to help deliver a winning franchise for our fans.”
Before coaching the Liberty, Laimbeer served 8 years (2002-2009) as head coach and GM of the then Detroit Shock (now Tulsa Shock), leading them to six playoff appearances and on to win three WNBA championship titles in 2003, 2006, and 2008. He will return to the Liberty serving as a head coach only.
Thank goodness he’s back! Championship teams aren’t built overnight and it takes time to cultivate chemistry, a certain style, culture, and a system that works. His resume speaks for itself: WNBA Champion coach, NBA champion, and member of one of the most notorious rosters in NBA history while playing for the Detroit Pistons. If the front office and fans can exercise a little more patience, and get the right pieces to click, we’ll definitely see these ladies in the post season.
But as a native New Yorker, I will admit that patience isn’t one of our strengths. So we’ll see…..