Over the last few yearsin Philadelphia, the cities’ five mostpopular professional sports teams (Eagles, Sixers, Phillies, Flyers and Union) seemto be experiencing a transition period amongst those in charge of calling the shots.
Recent news of the Flyers hiring of Dave Hakstol to replace Craig Berube as the new head coachmarked the sixth time since 2013 there has been a head coaching change throughout all five teams.
Of the current five skippers, none of the them have had any professional experience as a head coach.
These coincidental hiring’s have turned over a new era of Philadelphia sports. An era that follows a decade of long tenured coaches like Andy Reid (1999-2012), who led the Eagles to nine playoff appearances including a 2005 Super Bowl birth and Charlie Manuel, the well-liked skipper for the Phillies who gave the city five straight NL East titles and its first World Series trophy in 28 years.
Here’s a look at the inexperienced current crop of coaches:
Chip Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles (2013-Present)
Considered for his egomaniac attitude and his fast-paced offense, Kelly succeeded Reid in January 2013, a week after announcing he would stay at Oregon. Kelly’s offense took flight in his first season.
Finishing second in yards and tallying the fourth most drives in the league, Kelly’s new and improved Eagles finished first in the NFC East, establishing the first year under Kelly as a huge success.
The Birds did not make the playoffs in Kelly’s sophomore year behind an injury-plagued offensive line and an inadequate defensive backfield (though they did post a 10-6 record).
In January of this year, Jeffrey Lurie gave Kelly full control of all player personnel decisions. Since then, Kelly has made use of his new powers and took the NFL offseason by storm.
Improvements on the defensive side of the ball has shed light on the shocking decisions Kelly has constructed, like swapping Nick Foles for the brittle former No. 1 pick, Sam Bradford. Through two seasons, some would consider Kelly a success for a rookie NFL coach.
We can only continue to wait and see where Chip’s ship is headed and if we are witnessing a genius at work or another quick NFL coaching stint.
Brett Brown, Philadelphia 76ers (2013-Present)
Under the legendary Greg Poppovich, who’s won four NBA championships, Brown left the San Antonio Spurs to become head coach of the Sixers in August 2013.
Brown inherited a Sixers squad in a total rebuilding mode. Labeled as “tankers” the 76ers lost a record tying26-games in a row last season.
Now, after an 18-64 campaign, for the second year in a row, the Sixers should land another top five lottery pick. Thus shifting the focus not on the teams present, but the future.
Through the unconventional mindthat is Sam Hinkie, assets such as players like Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric, the direction of the team is positive.
While also, through an abundance of draft picks and cap room, Hinkie has the potential to establish a playoff-caliber team for Brown in the next year or two.
With outstanding play from rookie of the year and former Sixer Michael Carter-Williams along with a very impressive first year out of Nerlens Noel, it seems Brown has the mindset and tools to not only produce young players, but to be a successful head coach. The rest relies on Sam Hinkie.
Ryne Sandberg, Philadelphia Phillies, 2013-Present
After serving as Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs manager, leading to interim manager for the aforementioned Manuel, Sandberg was named the 52ndmanager of the Phillies at the end of the 2013 season.
Sandberg’s coaching decisions have been questioned over his one and a half seasons as the Fightins’ skipper. The pricey, aging roster which includes long-tenured players from the glory years of 2007-2011, have not given muchfor Sandberg to work with.
All of which comes down to the decision-making styles of not so fan-favorite general manger Ruben Amaro Jr. Sandberg finds himself in the beginning of a rebuilding process.
It’s a process that some speculate will takefive or six years until the team is rebuilt, including current Phillies PresidentPat Gillick. Some may wonder if Sandberg is part of the long-term plans or just a placeholder to pass the time.
Currently, Sandberg has his Phillie’s team riding a six-game win streak.
Jim Curtin, Philadelphia Union, (2014-Present)
Seven years playing professionally and two seasons as an assistant was enough for the Philadelphia Union to take a risk on the 35-year-old Curtin as head coach.
Curtin took the realms as interim head coach on June 10, 2014 after John Hackworth was relieved of his duties. Curtin proved himself worthy of the positioned after going 10-6-7 the rest of the season with the Union, knocking on the door of a playoff spot.
Curtin has a young Union team eighth in the Eastern Conference standings at 2-7-3. The team is coming off an impressive win over first-place D.C. United last Sunday, May 17 by a score of 1-0.
Dave Hakstol, Philadelphia Flyers, 2015-present
On Monday, May 18, the latest rookie head coach Hakstol replaced former rookie Flyer’s head coach, Berube.
Hakstol is taking his talents like Kelly did, from the college ranks to the professional level. The defense-enthusiast is leaving North Dakota after a very successful 11 seasons consisting of seven Frozen Four appearances.
Like most GM’s in Philadelphia, Ron Hextall seems to be putting his plan in place and is taking his chances on a coach with zero NHL experience.