We list some of the most awkward firings in sports.
Monday was a tough day for coaches.
The Miami Dolphins fired Joe Philbin. The Washington Nationals fired Matt Williams. Both were shown the door after significantly underachieving.
Of course, at Extra Mustard, we're not so much interested in which coaches are fired. We’re more interested in how they were fired. Here are some of the most awkward firings we can remember:
The Chicago Bulls fired the hard-nosed Skiles on Christmas Eve in 2007. Yikes! Skiles, not really known for his cheery demeanor, couldn’t have been too happy about that. But I feel worse for his family. Imagine a happy Skiles on Christmas—he probably lets his family sleep in before they start shoveling snow. An angry Skiles? An angry Skiles probably used that year’s tree as kindling while brooding next to a roaring fire.
Kiffin hopped off a plane at LAX and was promptly fired by USC athletic director Pat Haden. The hateable Kiffin did not bring USC back to the heights many expected when he was hired before the 2010 season. Kiffin was fired five games into 2013 after dropping his first two conference contests. The Trojans wanted Kiffin gone so badly, Haden called Kiffin off the team bus, and fired him at the airport just a few hours after a big loss to Arizona State. How did Kiffin even get back to campus after that?
There were many memorable firings courtesy of the late George Steinbrenner. The Boss’s firing of Lemon is an underrated one. Lemon was hired in September of 1981 and Steinbrenner would eventually swear on his heart Lemon would manage the entire 1982 season. Lemon was fired after 14 games, not even 1/10 of the way through the season.
The Oakland Raiders, the poster child for awkward coach firings, lived up to their reputation in 2014, firing Allen over the phone. Bruh. How do you even end a phone conversation like that? No phone goodbye is ever really seamless. But after you’ve just fired someone? I would rather receive a text. At least a snapchat would have a visual element. Granted, it could have been difficult for Allen to take his firing seriously if he was face-to-face with Mark Davis’s haircut.
Noted Steinbrenner-wannabe and Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has also pulled some crazy managerial stunts. The Marlins have had many managers in the past 15 years, perhaps none better than Joe Girardi. So of course Loria fired him after one season, the season after which Girardi won NL manager of the year. Girardi guided a young Marlins squad to a much better record than expected, but Loria reportedly wanted him gone in early August of that season, when Girardi told Loria to calm down after the owner argued balls and strikes with an umpire. Girardi has since won a World Series with the Yankees.
- Rohan Nadkarni and Brendan Maloy