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/.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, July 28

You can see two solo exhibits featuring work that speaks in metaphor.
NPR

Rust Devastates Guatemala's Prime Coffee Crop And Its Farmers

Central American coffee farmers are facing off against a deadly fungus that has wiped out thousands of acres of crops. Coffee companies like Starbucks are pooling money to support them in the fight.
NPR

When Did Companies Become People? Excavating The Legal Evolution

The Supreme Court has been granting more rights to corporations, including some regarded as those solely for individuals. But Nina Totenberg finds the company-to-person shift has a long history.
NPR

What It's Like To Own Your Very Own Harrier Jump Jet

The Harrier Jump Jet is known for vertical take-offs and landings. It also has an accident-prone track record, but that didn't dissuade one pilot from buying his dream plane.

Leave a Comment

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