With the hiring of Bob Donewald Jr. as new head coach by the Iowa Energy, four of the last D-League head coaching hirings --- some others being Bill Peterson (Erie BayHawks), Mark Daigneault (OKC 66ers), and Dean Cooper (Idaho Stampede) --- will all be first-time head coaches in the minor league.
Granting talented individuals new opportunities and bringing in fresh faces (Cooper served as a D-League assistant for three years) is always something to be met with positivity. The main question, subsequently becomes however, where does that leave the out of work head coaches, who have experienced success previously?
The likes of Bob MacKinnon, Gene Cross, Will Voigt, and Michael Peck are among those previous NBA D-League head coaches without already announced job posts. Whereas Thomas Scott (MacKinnon's assistant last season in Los Angeles) is the son of new Lakers head coach Byron Scott (thus, an obvious candidate to join his coaching staffs), the likes of other assistants such as John Bryant, Zendon Hamilton, Ben McDonald, and Jeff Javorek are among those otherwise displaced.
The D-Fenders hired Phil Hubbard as their new head coach (first reported here at RidiculousUpside.com) and the Maine Red Claws have all but introduced Scott Morrison as Mike Taylor's successor. This leaves the Canton Charge, Sioux Falls Skyforce, Westchester Knicks, and Grand Rapids Drive as the only teams currently without introduced head coaches.
UPDATE: DLeagueDigest.com is reporting that Otis Smith will indeed be named head coach of the Grand Rapids Drive:
Source tells D-League Digest that Otis Smith will indeed be named Grand Rapids Drive head coach. @ESPNSteinLine had the original scoop.— D-League Digest (@DleagueDigest) August 29, 2014
Multiple sources insist that the Knicks, however, have not come to an agreement with anyone and that Westchester's head coaching vacancy is still open. One source does assert (not surprisingly) that the team prefers someone with triangle offense experience.
No word yet on the next head coach of the Sioux Falls Skyforce, but it wouldn't be surprising to see the affiliated Miami Heat to promote an already in-house employee, much like they did with longtime scout/video coordinator Pat Delany last season. After serving as an assistant on Coach Delany's staff this past year, it wouldn't shock us here at RidiculousUpside.com to see Octavio De La Grana be granted such an opportunity, if it's one he desires.
On one hand, it's crazy to keep all of these qualified coaches in the dark with regard to open coaching vacancies. For those teams still with openings, however, it does appear to be a common occurrence not to have made a decision at this point, even though open tryouts start in mere weeks for most teams.
The caveat, to that, is this: certain jobs aren't as open and/or available as they may actually seem.