The Mystery And History Of Sport's Front Office | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

The Mystery And History Of Sport's Front Office

Play associated audio

One great mystery of sport is why they call the place that the general manager rules over the front office. Obviously, it's the box office that's out front. What they call the front office is really the "office office."

The front office has grown exponentially. Once it was pretty much just the general manager. Now they've added scouts and assistant GMs and statisticians. Another change: the general manager is usually called president. And once GMs started to be called presidents, the law of unintended consequences set in and that made an owner think that in order to one-up his president, he had to do more than just own.

Coaches get famous, but as a general rule, coaches don't make good general managers. Different talents. It's like the best assistant coaches usually don't make good head coaches. Different talents.

Recently, the New York Knicks named brilliant coach Phil Jackson to be general manager, er, president. What made Jackson so successful as coach was that he could relate to his players, actually coach them. He had a schtick that was hyped as sort of a trickle-down zen. However, these talents are pretty useless in the front office. Jackson will surely get a disciple to coach the team. Everybody will say Jackson has installed so-and-so as his coach, which sounds to the players like they just put in a new washing machine. It never works.

Click on the audio link above to hear Deford's take on the issue.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

For The Midterm Elections, A Book On 'What It Takes' To Win

The midterm elections are less than two weeks away. Writer Michael Schaub recommends a book that explores what it's like to run for office and live through all the dramatic ups and downs.
NPR

A Wisecracking Biochemist Shares Her Kitchen ABCs

Shirley Corriher, author of Cookwise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Cooking, has tips on taking the bitter bite out of coffee, and holding onto cabbage's red hue while it's in the pan.
NPR

For The Midterm Elections, A Book On 'What It Takes' To Win

The midterm elections are less than two weeks away. Writer Michael Schaub recommends a book that explores what it's like to run for office and live through all the dramatic ups and downs.
NPR

New Facebook App A Throwback To Old Chatrooms

Facebook's new app, Rooms, harkens back to the days of 1990s anonymous chat rooms. New York Times tech reporter, Mike Isaac, talks about why having secret identities online is a good thing.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.