There is life after Boston for the deposed.
If you’ve been booted from the bench, sideline or dugout, blamed, denigrated, derided or dismissed on your way out the door as a coach or manager, better days are ahead, I promise. There has been a recent trend of former Boston sports leaders enjoying success, redemption — or both — once they left the cauldron of criticism and expectation that is the Hub of Hardware.
There is nothing more gratifying than sticking it to an ex, whether it be employer or paramour, by showing how well you’re doing post-breakup.
Pumped and Jacked Pete Carroll, the palate-cleanser Patriots coach between Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick, just won the Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks. He is the NFL’s reigning genius after muting Peyton Manning and the highest-scoring offense in history. Who is too laid-back now?
Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who had an acrimonious parting with the Sox after the team’s epic and historic September collapse in 2011, returned to the dugout in 2013. He won 92 games and took the Cleveland Indians to the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
The imperious Rick Pitino, whose three-plus-season run as Celtics head coach/personnel czar (1997-2001) was an abject disaster that qualified as unintentional tanking, won an NCAA men’s basketball national championship with Louisville last April, becoming the first coach to win national titles at two schools. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame last September.
Anything is possible for the fired, the poor choices, the huddle-leading successes now. Let’s see what the future holds for other former Boston coaches/managers:
Feb. 25 — Former Bruins coach Mike Sullivan, a Vancouver assistant, is named head coach of the Canucks after coach John Tortorella is fired for charging behind the counter to confront a Tim Hortons employee who asked him what he wanted for breakfast. Tortorella refused to answer the question directly, saying, “I know what I want, Brooksie. I know.” He was asked to step aside after failing to make an order for 20 minutes. Incensed, Tortorella went behind the counter and accosted the employee.
March 16 — The Canucks record their 10th straight win with Sullivan as coach.
May 21 — The Los Angeles Dodgers fire manager Don Mattingly after a 4-0 loss to the New York Mets, who get a tidy 2-hour-15-minute complete game from Daisuke Matsuzaka.
May 22 — Bobby Valentine is named the new Dodgers manager, bicycling from Stamford, Conn., to Citi Field for his introductory news conference. Valentine says he’s not sure Adrian Gonzalez is as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past.
May 23 — Gonzalez requests a meeting with Dodgers ownership, but is denied.
June 1 — The Dodgers win their 11th straight game to climb into first place in the National League West.
June 18 — The Canucks defeat the Bruins, 2-0, in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden. Roberto Luongo shuts out the Bruins with 40 saves and credits Sullivan for inflating his self-confidence before the game. The Sedin twins, Daniel and Henrik, both notch Gordie Howe hat tricks.
June 19 — Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers win Game 7 of the NBA Finals, 88-80, over the Miami Heat.
June 20 — Rivers announces he’s not sure he’s going to return next season as Clippers coach and senior vice president of basketball operations.
June 30 — Rivers agrees to become head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, who send their 2016 and 2018 first-round picks to the Clippers.
July 10 — LeBron James agrees to join the Lakers as a free agent.
Aug. 3 — The Red Sox hold “Grady Little Night” at Fenway Park before a nationally televised game against the New York Yankees. Little throws out the first pitch to Pedro Martinez, then surprises Martinez by throwing a second pitch after Pedro had gotten up from his crouch, pointed to the sky, and started walking toward the mound to shake Little’s hand.
Aug. 12 — While explaining to Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig how he invented the wrap sandwich, Valentine asks Puig if he invented the Cuban sandwich.
Aug. 27 — Valentine threatens to punch Los Angeles radio host Max Kellerman after misunderstanding Kellerman’s question about whether Valentine had checked out of his hotel in Phoenix. “If I were there right now, I’d punch you right in the mouth. Ha. How’s that sound? Is that like I checked out? What an embarrassing thing,” Valentine says. A noted boxing analyst, Kellerman tells Valentine, “Bring it on.”
Sept. 22 — Valentine’s Dodgers beat the rival San Francisco Giants, 7-3, to clinch the NL West crown. Valentine was late arriving to the ballpark because he had to pick up his son at LAX and got stuck in traffic. It’s a total non-story, though. Valentine says, “That’s what I love about LA. Everyone shows up late for the games.”
Oct. 31 — The Dodgers defeat the Red Sox, 5-3, in the seventh game of the World Series at Fenway Park, behind a pinch-hit, sixth-inning grand slam from Carl Crawford. Josh Beckett pitches two innings of scoreless relief to get the win. Matt Kemp is named World Series MVP.
Feb. 1, 2015 — Carroll leads the Seahawks to their second straight title, defeating the Patriots, 17-14, in Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Ariz. The game changed when cornerback Aqib Talib had to leave late in the third quarter after he ran into the umpire while covering Percy Harvin on a crossing route. Patriots coach Bill Belichick says, “I think it was a deliberate play by the umpire to take out Aqib . . . One of the worst plays I’ve seen.”
Maybe Pitino was right about the fellowship of the miserable around here. These guys seem happier without us.