As a sports fan, I have always had this weird soft spot for what happens to athletes after they finish their career. Some go on to coach, some go on to do sports commentary, and others do some pretty incredible things. But what I hadn’t really thought much about was what happens to coaches after they lose a job? Or at what point do they decide to retire? I think the reason that I haven’t given this much thought is that I don’t think of coaches the same way that I do athletes. If a team isn’t doing well, I tend to place blame on the coaches, and not necessarily the athletes. Which means I can completely forget about a coach once they leave a team.
All of this is to say that I hadn’t thought much about what Stan Van Gundy might do since he’s no longer coaching an NBA team. Van Gundy and the Piston’s parted ways after they ended last season at 39-43. So I’ll flip this one and ask the question – is it all his fault? In this case, I’m going to say no. The Pistons were the highest spending team to miss the postseason this past year. They were also the only team in the top 10 in player salaries to finish under .500. What does this mean? Basically, that the players on the team didn’t pull their weight. That’s not to say that Van Gundy doesn’t have a role to play in this, but I think its a team effort. No pun intended.
The Pistons only made the playoffs once with Van Gundy as the coach, back in 2016. Of course, when they went up against the Cleveland Cavaliers, they got swept. So it’s not like they had a chance of making it very far. Sure, they could have made it to the post-season, but in their defense, there has been some pretty good talent in the east over the last couple of years.
Van Gundy has 12 years of head-coaching experience including his time with the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic. Not to mention, he’s got a pretty good record of 523-384, putting him at number 8 among other active coaches. Which makes you wonder why he doesn’t have any prospects for this upcoming season. It’s this reason, I suspect that Van Gundy is feeling “lost”. I mean, I can’t blame him. In an interview he gave with the Real Talk Basketball, Van Gund said this:
“If I could get a job [for next season], I had planned to coach. Now, I really don’t know. I’m really lost right now. I don’t have an idea. My wife wants me to retire.”
If he doesn’t coach, what are his options? Van Gundy says that he will consider media opportunities or teaching at the college level. Van Gundy was replaced by former Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey. Casey was let go after taking the Raptors to Eastern Conference Finals for the last several years. What will Van Gundy do next? That’s anyone’s guess, but we certainly wish him well where ever he lands.