Bill Laimbeer is on his way out as Detroit Shock coach, and he leaves trusted assistants Rick Mahorn and Cheryl Reeve to take over.
The Detroit Free Press and Mel Greenberg _ who always has a Philly connection to everything (Reeve is from that area and played at La Salle) _ both reported this Monday morning. The Shock’s official announcement is Monday afternoon.
Mel says Laimbeer doesn’t have an NBA job nailed down yet, if that is in fact what he’s looking for. My first thought is that Laimbeer wanted to ensure that Mahorn would become a head coach and Reeve would be elevated to GM, and that’s what happened with him leaving at this point in the season.
Some will see this as a sign of impending doom for the WNBA … but basically people have been seeing signs of impending doom the entire 13 years the league has existed. I’ve always tended to think one way or another, there will be a next season.
I will be writing Laimbeer more later on this blog, and on ESPN.com. I was on my way out of town to visit family today, but have delayed the trip to give some immediate reaction. Then I’ll head back to the road and will write more this evening.
Bottom line is that Laimbeer did a lot of good for the WNBA in his six and a half seasons. Whether fans loved him or loathed him, they felt something.
He understood the difference between working with college athletes and professionals, which not all of his WNBA coaching colleagues – especially those who came from the college ranks – have understood. He was funny and opinionated.
And his teams won. Through both his coaching and his talent evaluation, Detroit went from a nearly defunct franchise to a three-time WNBA champion.
Some will criticize the timing of his departure, but not me. I’m sorry he’s leaving, but he’s given a great deal to women’s pro basketball and has the right to do whatever is best for him.