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Doug Gottlieb: Lindsey Harding Hornets Interview Feels Like a ‘Rooney Rule'

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Doug Gottlieb: “Charlotte has been granted permission to interview Lindsey Harding. Harding is the G-League Coach of the Year. I think it’s great that they’re interviewing the G-League Coach of the Year but can we also be honest with ourselves and say ‘Are they doing it because they think she should be a head coach?’
And before you say ‘DOUG, YOUR MALE INNER CHAUVINISTIC PIG IS COMING OUT!’... Like, hmm, okay... Who was the G-League Coach of the Year last year? It was Ronnie Burrell from the Long Island Nets. The year before it was Mahmoud Abdelfattah. Before that Stan Heath, who was the coach at South Florida, coached at Arkansas, and famously led Kent State to the Elite Eight. Martin Schiller, Will Weaver, Dan Craig, Stan Morrison... Mike Miller was G-League Coach of the Year, starred in the NBA, played for the Miami Heat. In 2017-2018 he was G-League Coach of the Year with the Westchester Knicks. Did he ever interview for a head coaching job? Connor Henry, any of these guys?? NO. Nick Nurse was the coach of the Iowa Energy, he actually coached me in the USBL, he was an assistant coach back in the day, but after he was he G-League Coach of the Year in 2011 he went to the Rio Grande Vipers and was their coach for two more years, then he was an assistant for five years with the Toronto Raptors before becoming a head coach.
I don’t think Lindsey Harding becomes the head coach of the Hornets. I get it, you want to open doors and she’s broken through as a woman who can coach men, and done a good job, but, man, we’re skipping steps in the NBA aren’t we? You want equality and that’s totally fair and understandable. The head coach doesn’t hang out in the locker room... Now, there is a level of respect factor, you have to know how to handle people, but it’s hard to do in the G-League because you’re constantly having to juggle a roster, and I’ve said this about Minor League sports – no one wants to be there. Everyone wants to be in the NBA. It feels like we’re doing the Rooney Rule. 
Just the process of going through the interview and knowing ‘what do I need to work on?’, ‘what do I need to do to take that next step?’, I think that’s super valuable. But the way in which it’s covered [the Rooney Rule in the media] is ‘HEY, THIS IS A CANDIDATE, SHE SHOULD GET IT!’... ‘Are we over-correcting for the past?’ is my question.  
It’s not the natural progression. The natural progression of being a G-League coach is... the NBA has three coaches in the front of the bench and unlimited coaches behind the bench. Usually you go from being a G-League coach to being behind the bench in the NBA, then working your way up to front of the bench in the NBA – third assistant, second assistant, first assistant, and then you get the job. Occasionally, there have been former NBA players that have skipped steps. Steve Kerr had never coached a day in his life. He had been a GM and he’d been a championship player. You’re only going to win in the NBA if the locker room respects you, and the locker room doesn’t respect you unless you’ve won in the NBA.  
It’s a fascinating thought and experiment that at some point I think somebody will dive in and take, I just don’t know if this is the one.” 

Watch Doug Gottlieb of Fox Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show discuss news of the Charlotte Hornets interviewing G-League head coach Lindsey Harding for their vacant head coach position, as Gottlieb says he can’t help but think it’s a ‘Rooney Rule’ type PR stunt, and one that was meant to check the boxes of an inauthentic sense of progressive diversity in the Hornets' hiring process. 

The 'Rooney Rule' is an NFL policy that began in 2003 that requires NFL teams to interview a minimum amount of minority coaching candidates during coaching searches. It was meant to be an affirmative action hiring quota in an attempt to increase the amount of minority head coaches in the NFL. However, the rule also has its pitfalls as well, with teams seemingly giving the same few minority coaches sham interviews to abide by the rule, but at the same time have zero interest in actually hiring them. In Harding’s case, Gottlieb thinks the Hornets simply liked the attention they got in the news cycles from interviewing Harding, a Black female G-League coach, and that she was never seriously considered for the position.

Check out the segment above as Gottlieb details why Harding’s G-League ‘Coach of the Year’ honors doesn’t mean she should automatically get a head coaching job in the NBA, saying the G-League ‘Coach of the Year’ Award has historically not been linked with eventual head coaching positions, let alone the year after it was won, and adds that current NBA coaches who 'skipped the line' in becoming head coaches, i.e. Jason Kidd and Chauncey Billups, were former NBA players with championship pedigree on the court.

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