The news of John Patrick’s firing as head coach at s.Oliver Baskets sparked a huge debate among the Würzburg fans as to the reasons for the sacking of an extremely successful coach; who would be eventually named as the successors; and what the move means for the future of the club, which reached the Beko BBL semifinals as a promoted team.
The Würzburg fans reached out in droves to the forum on German basketball site schoenen-dunk.de and other sites to discuss Patrick’s firing. And many of them could not really figure out how players like Ben Jacobson, Jason Boone and John Little could be behind a mutiny to remain in Würzburg but not with Patrick – as was suggested in the media – especially since the trio had a long and successful past with the head coach from their time together at Göttingen.
zeromancer asked in the Würzburg Main Post comments section why the club announced on its website that the sides agreed to “Silence” in regards to the reasons for Patrick’s sacking – saying the fans deserved to know what was going on.
“It’s this ‘Silence’, that I otherwise consider honorable, that I consider inappropriate vis-à-vis the fans in this situation. They did such much for the Würzburg ‘Summer Fairytale’, turned the gym into a ‘hell’ and strengthened the standing of Würzburg basketball in the republic. Leaving them in vagueness regarding what scandal is happening with their heroes is not in order.”
meeviertel added in the Main Post comment section: “The scandals start up again! You can watch confidently how the club of retorts once again destroys itself. When a player abandons his team during the semifinals (Chester Frazier leaving a day before Game Two against Ulm) to accept ‘an offer he could not refuse’ (the job as assistant coach at Kansas State University), then everything is clear. A year ago, the promotion head coach (Berthold Bisselik) was also fired. Presumably, the semifinals were the highlight for a long time, if the Baskets even persevere for very long. … A terribly expensive racket, there is more behind this.”
The forum was also full of speculation about who could be named as Patrick’s successor. Some talked about Alba Berlin coach Gordon Herbert, who is currently in talks about remaining in the German capital. Former EWE Baskets Oldenburg coach Predrag Krunic, who won the 2009 German title, is also a name mentioned as is Björn Harmsen, who was released from LTi Giessen 46ers a couple weeks ago.
The other big name on the forum is Marcel Schröder, Patrick’s assistant who was Würzburg’s head coach during last season’s successful promotion from ProA to the BBL. But the 32-year-old Schröder drew the ire of many Würzburg fans. While many felt he didn’t have the coaching pedigree for the BBL, others noted his recent past as assistant coach.
sonnenblume posted the following on Schoenen-dunk’s forum:
“Just something to think about:
Jena 2007: HC (Head coach) Björn Harmsen, AssC (assistant coach) Marcel Schröder. Harmsen fired during the season. New HC is one of the players !!! Sean McCaw and not, as expected the AssC Marcel Schröder
Kaiserslautern Braves 2008: HC (Vladimir) Bogojevic, AssC Marcel Schröder. Bogojevic fired during the season. New HC is Marcel Schröder
Wübu (Würzburg) 2010: HC (Berthold) Bisselik, AssC Marcel Schröder. Bisselik fired during the season. New HC is Marcel Schröder
Wübu BBL 2012: HC John Patrick, Marcel Schröder …….”
And the user Powaqq posted this entry about what he believes happened: “Now my fictional version of the story. JP and JB (GM Jochen Bähr) are arch enemies for some time because JB constantly hears horrible things about JP from MS (Marcel Schröder) and confronts him. Eventually JB tells JP that he doesn’t want him as head coach next season. CF (Chester Frazier), a favorite student of JP, discovers this and cannot believe what’s happening. That’s why he keeps silent. When he is at odds with MS in the first playoff game in Ulm, he says it’s enough and leaves but not before giving JB one more jab with the claim that he had not been paid. The rest of the players behave like real professionals and do let the happenings in management affect them. One player is so influenced by MS that he makes a statement to the Main Post to back MS and management. … No one knows at the moment how it continues and I fear for a season with MS. Not because of my fantasy-filled story but because he nearly botched the promotion and because I do not believe he can be a good head coach. Just my 2 cents…”
the_analyst, a regular poster on the Schoenen-dunk forum, questioned if management could find a suitable replacement while fearing for the future of the club.
“There are not a dozen good coaches who are able to do what Patrick did this season with a small budget. As management, I would think two, three, four times if I want to send this guy into the desert. Because who will come to Wü and be similarly successful – I could think of maybe one or two, but they are not available. That means: as GM I would have tried to clean up the kindergarten. Maybe the experience and the authority here is missing, NOT to throw in the towel when the players mutiny but instead look for the dialogue, find out actually where the problem is and maybe get rid of rather two, three players (edit: or the assistant coach?). I cannot get around the impression that this is about a power struggle and that the head coach was – in my opinion – dismissed too early. Now it will be very difficult. And one thing is clear: if the success does not stay, the sponsors will leave and the spectator numbers will shrink. The basketball boom in Wü would be slowed. Many here are hoping for the luck that the new coach to some degree can continue the success,” wrote the_analyst.
Meanwhile Göttingen fans chimed in hoping Patrick would come back to Göttingen, who were relegated this season to the second division. The user assuri posted: “Well, that sounds great for Göttingen. Here’s to a new one with JP in Göttingen. He would definitely bring BG Göttingen from the second division to the top flight and establish them there!!! Go John! Go John!”