Going into this season, Doug Collins was beloved for taking this team to the playoffs last year. Hopes were high and Philly was in love with the new head coach. He started off the season 20-9 and was once in the conversation for coach of the year. Since the all star break, this team has relinquished its Atlantic Division lead to the Boston Celtics and has slipped to the 8th seed. This time of struggles has brought out a different side of Doug Collins, a side that this city hasn’t seen yet. It has led many to question if he will be a coach for the Philadelphia 76ers for the distant future.
The once lovable coach was known for his positive relationship with the media, often times stating statistics to explain the teams struggles or success. He has since become a little less kind to the media, being short and often sarcastic with the media. He went from coach of the year to now in the lukewarm seat.
As Philadelphia Sports fans, we all know the story of Dick Vermeil. He was a coach who inherited the Eagles as his first head coaching stint in the NFL. His team got progressively better until they went to the Superbowl and lost. Dick Vermeil, who like Doug Collins is very emotional, eventually wound up leaving the team due to frustrations and lack of success after the Superbowl. He claimed he was fatigued. Now its usually unfair to compare coaches from two different sports, but its easy to see the similarities. Doug Collins has showed fatigue and disappointment in his post game press conferences. At one point he even was very blunt saying he didn’t have any answers for the teams current struggles. In a press conference a few weeks later he claimed that at times he struggles with his stern approach to the game, saying that this generation’s players have to be handled with “kid gloves.”
Is this the sign of a coach who is becoming fatigued and frustrated with the current state of the team? Many fans seem to think that if Doug Collins experiences another first round exit that he will be put on the hot seat entering next year. What would a first round win mean for the team? Some see it as a sign of hope, some see it as a meaningless victory, believing that getting knocked out against the 2nd seed will be imminent.
The bottom line is that irregardless of what happens this year, ownership needs to put Doug Collins in a better situation to win games (where have we heard that before?). This team needs to sign some scorers, and most importantly a scorer that can take over games late. This team has lost too many games in the 4th quarter. This team’s purpose in winning could be to attract superstar type players to come to this city and help it get over the hump.
Either way the status of Doug Collins is a hot topic these days. I firmly believe that Doug’s first year was a growing year, where he took a team with the ghost of Eddie Jordan and found success. This year has seen its share of disappointments. However I feel that Doug is safe after this year no matter what. I believe that next year will be important in evaluating Doug’s future with the team.