Posted 2 days ago | By Chris Mueller
Nothing lasts forever, particularly in the sports world. Player careers are usually short, and coaches, general managers, and team presidents are regularly hired and fired. Despite that, several big names have managed the prove that they have a rare degree of staying power. Which ones might be nearing the end of the line, either overall, or at their current stop? Let’s take a look at how much time is left for some coaching and front office legends.
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Ainge followed a 14-year NBA playing career with a stint coaching the Phoenix Suns but has achieved most of his post-playing notoriety as the Celtics’ general manager and president of basketball operations. Ainge has been on the job in Boston since 2003, and while his trades for Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett after the 2006-07 season sparked a 42-win improvement, the biggest in league history, and led to the Celtics winning the 2007-08 NBA title, his recent work has fallen flat. Ainge has plenty of job security, so even though the Celtics are languishing in seventh place in the east, if he leaves the job, it will be on his terms.
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Auriemma has nothing whatsoever to prove in women’s basketball. Connecticut’s head coach since 1985, he has compiled a 1,119-144 record, hasn’t lost a conference game since the 2012-13 season and has won 11 national titles. Connecticut hasn’t won one since 2015-16, including a Final Four loss to Arizona this year, but the Huskies are almost always the betting favorite to win the title in a given season. He can stay on the job as long as he wants, and at 67 years old, it’s fair to wonder if the time for him to take on new challenges has passed.
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Belichick’s 7-9 season in 2020 was his first losing campaign with the Patriots since his first year on the job in 2000. Belichick’s job security is ironclad, and he’ll be allowed to coach the Pats for as long as he desires. He’s about to turn 69 years old, and currently sits 48 wins behind Don Shula for the all-time record. With Tom Brady around, the Patriots would have been a good bet to match that number in four seasons or five tops. With Brady gone, Belichick has had to figure out how to retool New England. Shula’s record is the only thing he has left to chase, and given his obsession with football, it stands to reason that he’ll stick around long enough to get it done, but perhaps not long past that.
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To hear Boeheim tell it in 2015, he had three more years left on his coaching clock. His son Buddy committing to play for the Orange in 2018 changed things, perhaps aided by Syracuse’s surprising NCAA Tournament success. The Orange made a surprise Final Four run in 2015-16, and have qualified for the Sweet 16 in two of the last three NCAA Tournaments, despite playing as a double-digit seed both times. Boeheim recently said he would coach until he “couldn’t win anymore,” which means that even at 76, he figures to be around for at least two or three more seasons.
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Brown owns the Cincinnati Bengals, of course, but since 1991, he has also acted as the team’s de facto general manager, much to the chagrin of Bengals fans. Brown is 85 years old and, though he has delegated some responsibilities to others, still has the final say on personnel; while Joe Burrow was promising until his rookie campaign was cut short by injury, Brown’s total control over the franchise has been negative. His health has by and large held strong, however, so as long as Brown is physically and mentally able, it seems likely that he’ll keep the status quo in place.
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