Ayers' firing premature

Former 76ers' coach Randy Ayers was given a difficult job at the beginning of the season and should've been given a chance to complete it.

Updated: February 10, 2004, 8:28 PM ET
By Dr. Jack Ramsay | Special to ESPN.com

I'm disappointed former Philadelphia 76ers head coach Randy Ayers didn't get a longer chance to lead this team. This was a difficult job for a rookie coach to take because of the environment and player styles and personalities. But he'd proven he could coach with success at the collegiate level (Ohio State) and he was Larry Brown's assistant for six years. Also, Ayers has a good grasp of the NBA game and is a good teacher so I'm slightly puzzled as to why he would be let go after only 52 games.

After looking at the situation there are only a couple reasons why he could've been let go.

The first is injuries because his short reign was hampered by numerous injuries to key players. It's very difficult when a coach doesn't have his full complement of players to work his game plan.

Allen Iverson
Iverson's strong will to win can make a coach's job difficult.

At some point during the season he's been without guard Allen Iverson and forwards Glenn Robinson, Kenny Thomas, Derrick Coleman and Marc Jackson. With those five players off the floor, the 76ers were stuck with a team that was missing vital points, rebounds and leadership.

His other problem may have been a lack of control. In the process of trying to scramble and put a viable team on the floor he may have lost some of his. It's vitally important for any coach, but especially a rookie coach to assert authority over his squad. A rookie coach must come in establishing himself and meeting the challenge of being the boss. That may have eroded because of his patching up of the lineup.

The 76ers are a tough team for a rookie coach to take control of partially because of Iverson's strong will. It's very difficult to get AI to play within a team structure game after game because he's so competitive. When things aren't going well he tries to do too much to bring about a team victory. A coach has to be extremely strong to reign him in and get him out of those habits.

In that sense new coach Chris Ford may be a good fit for this team. He's coached all manner of teams before and knows what he's getting himself into. He has experience dealing with veteran players and in pointing them in the same direction even if they aren't winning. Unlike Ayers he's been here before and will know what to do in certain situations, which will help his cause when dealing with the players. Now he has 30 games to prove he's the guy for the job.

Dr. Jack Ramsay coached the Trail Blazers to the 1977 NBA championship. A member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, he is a regular contributor to ESPN.com. Click here to send a question for Dr. Jack for possible use on ESPNEWS.

Legendary coach and Basketball Hall of Famer Dr. Jack Ramsay served as lead game analyst for The NBA on ESPN Radio. He also contributed to ESPN.com and ESPN The Mag.

ALSO SEE