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Today marked the end of Tortorella's coaching tenure with the New York Rangers. It was marked with ups (like his record 171-144 in the regular season) and downs (holy crap bad offense and terrible power play). He was a tough cookie both on his players and to the media.
I am no fan of the Rangers. But I got to thinking: What makes a good pro head coach?
A few months ago I was listening to a Vikings postgame show where they lost and callers were ranting on how the Vikings needed a coach who was "in your face" and "showed more emotion on the sidelines." Here in Nebraska, after every Husker game, fans (and detractors alike) rant on how Head Coach Bo Pelini is a hot head and needs to butt out of his players' and media's faces (aside for the typical if the Huskers win, Bo rules. If they lose, fire his backside). Here's the same issue. You have previous head coach Renney barely at .500 over his tenure (something like 164-163 as a head coach) and he's drummed out. To me, he seemed like a tacit kind of coach. And here's the abrasive Tortorella getting shown the door after being the exact opposite and finishing with a better overall record.
I'm not going to debate whether or not the dismissal was the right or wrong answer. Like I said, I don't give a rip about the Rangers. But I do wonder what makes a good coach a good coach?
Nowadays, more and more players (especially in basketball and football) are immature, hot-headed egotists that cannot handle criticism and tough love. But when they are listened to by owners and GMs, giving the player a "player friendly" coach, it doesn't always mean positive results either. So what makes a great head coach?
I want to be careful about this not turning into a Hakstol Hate Festival (like every time Brad says his name in an article on his own blog's comment section), so I'm not really interested in college-centric thought. I do believe that a college head coach and a pro head coach are very different.
So I'm curious what are the intangibles of a great coach, in your eyes? How do you judge a coach's effectiveness? Which coach (of any sport) do you think more coaches should model themselves after?
I have a lot of favorite coaches, but my opinion is you can never go wrong with Scotty Bowman. His attitude and the way he coached was simply top notch.
P.S. Dave Tippett is rumored to be among the coaches the Rangers are considering. I bet, however, they go with Alain Vignault if they don't go with Mark Messier. (others mentioned are Lindy Ruff and Paul Maurice)