In "honor" of Matt Williams being fired by the Washington Nationals--and Joe Philbin being let go by the Miami Dolphins--yesterday, The Sporting News posted a list of the worst managers in the history of each Major League Baseball Franchise. I thought it would be kind of fun to do that for each of the major sports here in Wisconsin.
Let's just say there are plenty of candidates to choose from here. The Sporting News selected Phil Garner based on the continuous decline the franchise saw during his tenure. Most of the Wisconsin media folks discussing this on-line last night voted for Davey Lopes. There were a few nominations for Ken Macha as well. But for me the worst Brewers Manager of all time is Rene Lachemann. Lachemann succeeded Harvey Kuenn in 1984 and I can still remember my mother telling me about his hiring when I got home from school one day and thinking "Isn't he the guy that hasn't won anything in Seattle?" It turned out he didn't win anything in Milwaukee either, being fired with three games left in his only season and losing 94 games.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Bart Starr the coach was always sabotaged by Bart Starr the General Manager. The Packers under Forrest Gregg were just a bunch of talentless thugs. Ray Rhodes was one of the least likeable guys in NFL history and Lindy Infante won less than 38% of his games. But the worst coach in Green Bay history was also a one-year wonder--Ray "Scooter" McLean. How anyone could think a guy with the nickname "Scooter" was going to lead a franchise to glory is beyond me--but is was 1958. McLean went 1-10-1 in his only season--and the Packers weren't even competitive in most of those games. Of course, that disaster led to the hiring of Vince Lombardi the next season--and he won Coach of the Year with many of the same players.
Now this is a dumpster fire of bad coaches. Frank Hamblen, Mike Dunleavy, Chris Ford, Terry Porter, Terry Stotts, Larry Krystkowiak, and Jim Boylen are among those who were very, very bad on the Milwaukee bench. But the worst of all-time--so far--has to be Larry Drew, who went an astoundingly pathetic 15-67 in his one season.
WISCONSIN BADGERS FOOTBALL
This is the easiest selection on the list: Don Morton. Most of us Badgers' fans old enough to remember his usually drop the "T" from his last name to make it more accurate (Moron). Some claim Morton was ahead of his time--as elements of his "Veer" offense are now used in today's Read-Option schemes. But at the time in the late 80's all the Badgers did was "Veer" into the ditch. Fortunately, Morton's debacle led to the hiring of Barry Alvarez and like they say--the rest is history.
WISCONSIN BADGERS BASKETBALL
This is another easy selection: Steve Yoder. The Badgers never finished higher than tied for sixth in the Big Ten under Yoder and never made the NCAA Tournament--even though it had expanded to 64-teams by that time. The real frustration was that most of his teams didn't even have real Division I talent most years. Remind me to tell you about how I helped get Yoder fired--setting the Badgers Basketball program on its way to the heights it enjoyed under Dick Bennett and Bo Ryan.