All Time Trail Blazers Team Part 3: Coach
In the search for the All Time Blazer Team we also have to think about the coaching staff. Instead of selecting a staff of 5 coaches, we will select the one Blazer coach who we feel deserves to coach this elite team of Blazers.
The Blazers have had 12 different coaches throughout their years two of which served with the interim coach: Stu Inman, and Kevin Pritchard. Both of these men served for the same reason, the coach was fired mid season and the front office wanted to get a look under the hood to see what really needed to be done to fix the stalling team.
Inman took over for the first Blazer coach Rolland Todd who amassed a career record of .297 during his two plus years. Inman replaced Todd with Jack McCloskey who did not fare much better during the 1972-1975 seasons and a winning percentage of .293. The Blazers turned to future Hall of Famer Lenny Wilkens in 1974 and his reign at the helm of the Blazer ended after two season and a little better percentage of .457. Wilkens was let go after the ’75-76 season.
In the destined season of ’76-’77 Jack Ramsay broke onto the scene in Portland. During his first of 10 full seasons as the coach Ramsay led Walton, Lucas, and the other Blazers to Portland first and only Championship. During his time with the team Dr. Jack amassed a career record of 453 wins and 367 losses good enough for a winning percentage of .552. His career playoff percentage is .492. Dr. Jack has become the beacon in which we judge all coaches of the Blazers. His attitude, tenacity, and dedication to the Blazers during the championship run is unmatched in the history of the Blazers.
After Ramsay gave up the helm, the Blazers hired Mike Schuler, who after three years of mediocre basketball was replaced mid-season by his lead assistant, Rick Adelman. Adelman coached the team for 5+ seasons and has a career winning percentage of .654 in the regular season and .522 in the playoffs. Adelman’s strong Xs and Os and ability to teach the game was one reason the Blazers of the late ’80s and early ’90s were so successful and feared across the NBA.
Since Adelman’s departure the Blazers have had a string of coaches who were good enough to keep us in the playoffs, but not good enough to bring another championship to Portland. The wrecking-ball named Mo Cheeks blew our team up, and now we have a bright, strong, and powerful coach in Nate McMillian.
When looking for a coach of this All Time Blazers Team two names stand out: Dr. Jack and Rick Adelman. Adelman has the better career stats in wins, both in the regular season and the playoffs. However, Ramsay has a ring. It can be argued that Ramsay had less talent to coach, but Adelman had a tougher NBA (Jordan) to compete with. If Adelman had won a championship with the Blazers he would be a shoo-in for this award.
When looking at the success of the Blazers under different coaches it is clear that Jack Ramsay is the All Time Blazer Coach. His understanding of the game, his ability to do more with less, and ability to teach the game unlike any other Blazer coach makes him the rightful recipient of the award.
Congratulations Dr. Jack the All Time Blazer Coach!
The All Time Blazers Team currently stands as:
Coach: Jack Ramsay
SG: Clyde Drexler
SF: Jerome Kersey
The hardest positions are still to come with Center, Power Forward, Point Guard, and 6th man.
So what do you think…do you think Dr. Jack is given more praise then he needs for winning a championship? Do you think that Adelman with his better record in both the regular season and playoffs is better suited for this award? Let’s hear it!