Best Departed Coach

Best: Joe Gibbs
2nd Best: Eddie Jordan
Joe Gibbs is still the king of the local leavers. Look at him smiling on all those Pit Roads and you can’t help but remember how eager he was to leave the Redskins and all those millions in salary on the table last year just so he could, you know, spend time with his family. Supersmart move, Joe. But the second-best coaching departee is Eddie Jordan. He led the Washington Wizards for the last five-and-some-change seasons, through some of the funnest, if not winningest, times in the franchise’s history. He always came off well in interviews, because when his team played lousy, Jordan would come out and say they played lousy—take this explanation for a 2005 defeat to the Miami Heat: “They’re better than us.” Now, everybody’s better than “us.” And Jordan got canned when the Wiz got off to a 1–10 start. Sure, his replacement, Eddie Tapscott, was handed a situation as hopeless as the one thrown in Barack Obama’s lap—no center, no Gilbert, etc.—but he’s not exactly making chicken salad out of it. Tapscott’s interviews are harder to listen to than the Wiz’s games are to watch, because he’s no doubt going to drop a cringer, like this recent one regarding JaVale McGee’s playing time: “This isn’t quantum physics. Energetic play will receive the benefits of additional play!” Yuck. But Jordan fared OK: Not only did he get away from the worst team in franchise history, he got away with about $8 million that was left on his contract. And, according to news accounts, he really has been spending time with his family since the firing.