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Fun While It Lasted

Aug. 26, 2013
Aug. 26, 2013

Table of Contents
Aug. 26, 2013

SI.com
LEADING OFF
THE MAIL
THEMMQB.COM
SOCCER
  • FRIEND OF POPES, LOVER OF PIGS, OFTEN-TAUNTED SYMBOL OF AN INCREASINGLY MULTIRACIAL EUROPE—MARIO BALOTELLI IS A LIGHTNING ROD FOR ATTENTION. AT 23, ITALY'S STAR FORWARD ALSO HAS TALENT THAT'S EVERY BIT AS ELECTRIC AS HIS PERSONALITY

Fun While It Lasted

A brief history of coaches who lacked staying power

This is an article from the Aug. 26, 2013 issue

The cross-generational superteam of coach Jimmy Connors and world No. 3 player Maria Sharapova seemed like a good idea. It wasn't. Sharapova got rid of Connors last week after one match (a loss to Sloane Stephens). "It's not the right fit for this time in my career," said Sharapova. (Perhaps next week, Jimbo.) Connors now joins these notorious short-timers:

TED TURNERone game

In May 1977, with the team he owned, the Braves, in the midst of a 16-game losing streak, Turner told manager Dave Bristol to take some time off. Then he gave himself the job. "You're crazy," said Bristol, "but go right ahead. It's your team." Never mind that Turner had zero relevant experience. After a 2--1 Atlanta loss, NL president Chub Feeney called Turner and read him the major league rule forbidding owners from managing.

EDDIE STANKYone game

The former Cards and White Sox skipper had no illusions of staying on forever when he took over as the Rangers' manager in June 1977. "I feel like the man swimming in the ocean with a cut on his arm," he said. "Sooner or later, the shark is going to get you." It turned out to be much sooner. After a 10--8 win in his debut, Stanky, 61, got homesick and left to return to his job at South Alabama.

BARRY MELROSE16 games

After 13 years away from the bench, Melrose left the ESPN studio to take over the Lightning in 2008. Melrose was fired after a 5-7-4 start, which led to a fine flame war. Owner Len Barrie accused Melrose of "total negligence," to which Melrose responded: "I hope Tampa Bay doesn't win a game in the next year."

JERRY TARKANIAN20 games

The Shark made the jump from UNLV to the Spurs in 1992, but he immediately clashed with owner Red McCombs over personnel. With San Antonio 9--11, McCombs got out the ax. The news wasn't all bad: Tarkanian, who was in the midst of a lawsuit with the NCAA, got most of the $1.13 million his contract called for.

SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE

Princess Irina, fifth in line to the Romanian throne, was arrested for allegedly running a cockfighting ring in Oregon.

PHOTOSIMON BRUTY/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (SHARAPOVA)PHOTODAG SUNDBERG/GETTY IMAGES (ROOSTER)