It won’t work this time.
Every city in America celebrates the firing of a head coach because the fired coach didn’t get it done. No one is happy with the job Jeff Hornacek was doing. He didn’t get it done. However, this town is too smart. No one is fooled.
The Phoenix Suns have an excellent PR department. There was a statement from the team announcing Hornacek’s firing yet there was no actual quote from a member of management in the statement. There was no press conference Monday morning. There was no interview of GM Ryan McDonough or owner Robert Sarver in the paper with long-time beat reporter Paul Coro. McDonough and/or Sarver did not speak on air to the only local sports talk morning show in the market (Doug & Wolf) hours after the firing in an attempt to get ahead of speculation, nor did either speak to the Suns’ flagship radio station website (ArizonaSports.com). As “PR 101” goes, these are all mistakes. The only way these basic mistakes happen by an excellent PR staff is if the staff’s opinions were ignored or this was an impulse decision.
No matter how you feel about the job performance of McDonough, the man is unbelievably prepared. It’s difficult to believe he would have taken such a dramatic step as firing Hornacek without having a plan to replace him. He conducted interviews on Monday and the team is expected to announce Hornacek’s short-term replacement Monday night or Tuesday morning. After losing to Philadelphia, it’s easy to understand a GM that thinks it’s time to fire the head coach. It makes no sense for the GM to have missed the opportunity to talk to assistants on the road trip and hit the ground running this morning.
If a well-run PR department makes fundamental mistakes and a meticulous GM is conducting interviews hours after the firing versus hours before the firing, it appears this was an impulse firing. Impulse firings only happen when either there is a lack of direction or the result of an argument. If Jeff Hornacek issued an extension ultimatum, he had to be fired. Any other scenario screams of a sacrificial lamb being offered up to a fan base that wanted the lamb’s owner and not the lamb.
When the Suns had success in Hornacek’s first year, there were a lot of people who wanted to jump to the forefront to take credit. Now that there’s failure, we hear silence.
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