Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Rivers Starting from Scratch

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Rivers Starting from Scratch

Article excerpt

It was around mid-season last year when Orlando Magic General Manager John Gabriel figured he should start doing his homework on potential coaching candidates.

Chuck Daly was still the team's coach, but Daly hadn't confirmed whether he was going to return with the team. So Gabriel decided to be prepared. His research led him to conversations with people around the NBA who knew Doc Rivers, had been around him and even coached him.

It was no secret that the former TNT analyst wanted to someday become an NBA head coach, despite having no coaching experience.

"I wanted to get a feel for who he was, if in fact he was going to be a candidate," Gabriel said.

Gabriel also talked with other potential candidates, but when Daly announced his resignation May 24, it took just two weeks for Gabriel to hand the reigns over to Rivers. "Everyone needs to start somewhere," Gabriel said. "There were a lot of guys that were extremely qualified. But sometimes, though, you've got to go with your gut."

Rivers is now in his first training camp as a coach as the Magic have been working out at UNF this week. He is the latest in a current trend of recently retired players who have taken over as coaches, joining such former stars at Larry Bird and Danny Ainge. But both of those coaches had the luxury of inheriting veteran teams.

At the time of Rivers' hire, he too, had a veteran crew featuring Penny Hardaway, Nick Anderson and Horace Grant. But after an offseason of wheeling and dealing by Gabriel, Rivers was left with young and mostly inexperienced players.

Forward Pat Garrity, who spent last year with Ainge at Phoenix before being shipped to Orlando in the Hardaway trade, said he has enjoyed playing for his new coach.

"I love playing for him so far because he's intense," Garrity said. "He wants to get after it and he wants to work. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.