Monday, June 6, 2011

Mark Jackson Hired As Coach Of The Golden State Warriors

NBA broadcaster and former elite point man Mark Jackson has been hired to be the next coach of the Golden State Warriors.

“After an extensive search and a great deal of consideration, we have come to the conclusion that Mark Jackson is the best coach for this team,” said Warriors’ General Manager Larry Riley. “He will bring a youthful and fresh approach to our team and the fact that he enjoyed a stellar playing career, where he served most of that time as the leader of some very successful teams, will prove invaluable in the long run. We were looking for a coach with leadership ability and a strong personality and believe Mark possesses those qualities. He’s very well respected in NBA circles, is a consummate professional and his knowledge and background will be an incredible asset for our team and organization.”

“We are tremendously excited about the addition of Mark Jackson as our new head coach,” said Warriors’ Owner Joe Lacob. “He epitomized leadership as a player in this league for 17 seasons and we think that characteristic – and many other positive traits – will translate very well into his coaching duties with our young team. He was a leader and a winner both on and off the floor in this league and we’re convinced that he is the right person to guide this team into the future and help us achieve the success that we are striving for as an organization.”

Jackson will be taking over for Keith Smart and ushering in a new era of Warriors basketball with Jerry West.

Maybe these NBA front office types know more than I do, but I've never pictured Jackson as a coach. Maybe it's because I've heard him on television so much recently that I couldn't see him going into coaching. I wish him luck, because he's gonna need it and some patience with the Warriors franchise.

I know some will disagree, but I'll actually miss him in the booth. 

Former Michigan Coach Bill Frieder Fitting In With A New Crowd

Even though Bill Frieder had success coaching college basketball ( he led Michigan and Arizona State to six NCAA tournaments and was a monster recruiter), he'll always be known for ditching the Wolverines for Arizona State on the eve of the 1989 tournament. I have my own thoughts about Frieder but that's another topic for another day. 

Frieder has stayed around the game since retiring doing color commentary on NCAA games for Westwood One radio. Nowdays, Frieder has a new gig. He helps the Maloof brothers, Joe and Gavin, the owners of the Sacramento Kings, run the Maloof Money Cup, a skatebording contest with four different events, the first being held in New York City and a total prize potentially paying more than $2 million.

Now Frieder doesn't commentate or pick the skaters. He handles the money, makes sure things run smoothly during the contests, and with the Maloofs and general manager Tim McFerran - a former hoops player at Willamette University - helps make business decisions, including on expanding the contests domestically and internationally.

The surprise is that Frieder seems to be a big hit with the skating community and Frieder likes being involved with the event.

Frieder has become friends with many of the skaters who live in the San Diego area, including Pierre-Luc Gagnon, a two-time winner of the Maloof Money Cup Orange County vert title, and Jake Brown, who is best known for his spectacular 40-foot fall during the 2007 X Games.

"When I got into this I knew who Jake Brown was because I saw his fall on ESPN," Frieder said. "I knew who Sheckler was. We had a Ryan Sheckler night our first year up at Sacramento. There was a line all the way around the arena and out the door to get his autograph. It was incredible."

The skaters also seemed to have some kind of special kinship with the old coach.

"Bill Frieder's an amazing guy," Brown said. "He comes from a history of sports, with basketball and stuff, and he's just a great all-around dude."

"He knows sports," said Maloof, who's been a game-changer in pro skateboarding. "Frieder's been around sports his whole life. He understands young people, athletes. The people 40-70 know who he is, but it's the young people that are attracted to Frieder. He just knows how to relate to young people, like he did his whole career, like recruiting basketball players. Skaters trust him."

It's kind of strange that Frieder would be involved in skateboarding with all the young athletes involved, since he never went back into coaching. But he's played the stock market and poker, so anything isn't out of the ordinary for Frieder.