It doesn’t come as too much of a shock, but it’s still pretty surprising how a coach can win 51 games in a season and still get fired. The Golden State Warriors announced Tuesday afternoon that they have parted ways with Mark Jackson after 3 seasons. Jackson led the Warriors to just their second playoff appearance in the last 2 decades, and took the franchise to back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time since the 1990-’91 and 1991-’92 seasons.
The Warriors were predicted by many to be championship contenders this season, after making a run to the Western Conference Semifinals a season ago. However, 51 wins was only enough to secure the 6th seed in the west this season, and the Warriors were eliminated in the first round by the Los Angeles Clippers.
Despite his success, there were rumors about Jackson’s job security all season, as his commanding personality led to a series of events regarding the Warriors front office personnel, and his assistant coaches.
The pressure on Jackson began when his contract option for the 2014-15 season was picked up last summer instead of negotiating a long-term deal, which is what he pushed for. Management also encouraged Jackson to hire a top assistant after the departure of Michael Malone, who had several disagreements with Jackson. Malone took over as the head coach of the Sacramento Kings.
Jackson also had confrontations in practice with assistant coach Brian Scalabrine throughout the season. The Warriors ultimately decided to reassignment Scalabrine to the D-League, while firing assistant Darren Erman for recording private conversations of coaches and players’ meetings.
Erman reportedly thought that Jackson was bad-mouthing him behind his back to other coaches and players, and his firing was just 12 days after Scalabrine’s demotion. Ironically, Jackson had stated after the Warriors lost Game 7 to the Clippers on Saturday night that he had no worries about losing his job.
“I work every single day with a passion and a commitment like it’s my last. I’m trying to be a blessing to people. I’m trying to impact people, and that’s the way I live my life. That’s the way I coach. I don’t get caught up in it. I’m totally confident and have total faith that no matter what, I’m going to be fine, and that’s even if I’m a full-time pastor. It’s going to work out.”