Coach K, Bob Baffert, Brad Stevens: Who Will You Miss Most?

Enormous exodus day on Wednesday. All in a span of approximately six hours, three of the largest names in the coaching/training profession announced that their respective runs were coming to an end.

Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski, who has lead the Blue Devils since 1980, announced next season would be his last. After Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit tested positive for performance enhancers, Churchill Downs suspended Bob Baffert, horse racing’s most notable name, from entering any races at their track for two years. Lastly, and potentially most surprising, the Boston Celtics announced Brad Stevens would be leaving the bench as head coach and moving to the executive suite as their new Head of Basketball Operations.

All three moves are surprising, some more than others. These three are at the very top of their professions. Any time one of these names are the subject of movement it would be a big deal. We got all three in one day.

But one question remains: who will you miss most?

The thought of a Coach K farewell tour honestly makes me ill. Not to take away from five national championships, 12 Final Fours, and three Naismisth Coach of the Year awards…but can we all agree that the guy is a little full on himself? Like the time he (while on medical leave) brought his team to his house to rip them, or lecturing opposing players in the handshake line after a game, or answering student reports with max smarm and condescension.

What about Bob Baffert? Surely can’t take away from his impeccable resume; seven Kentucky Derby winners, same number of W’s at The Preakness, three victories at the Belmont Stakes, and most importantly two Triple Crowns. CNN does a great job outlining his shady history here, same with SI here, and Horse Racing Planet here. TLDR; the guy always seems to find himself in trouble.

Now Brad Stevens…this is a different story. Widely appreciated as a top basketball mind, Stevens will take on the new challenge of putting the team together off the court instead of coaching them on it. He’s had a pretty high level of success at both the collegiate level as well as the NBA. He made a Final Four/NCAA Championship game with Butler (yes, Butler), and made the playoffs in seven of eight seasons in Boston, three of those years making it to the Eastern Conference Finals. The guy doesn’t even have a “Controversy” section in his Wikipedia page for God’s sake, he’s clean as a whistle.

This seems like a pretty clear cut decision here. Coach K and Bob Baffert can kick rocks, they can both take their weird old guy hair (I’m just bald/jealous) and get the hell out of sport fans’ lives. But Brad Stevens…sweet, innocent, nerdy Brad Stevens…we will all miss you. Even though you’ll still be around, you’ll be behind the scenes, and not trolling the sidelines with a pocket protector and suspenders. We hope that this new position absolutely blows up in your face and you decide to get back on the court and in front of the camera soon, you sweet, baby-faced little scoundrel.