There is old school and then there is Donnie Walsh. But it’s that old school styling that earns him so much respect around the league, even in this new school NBA.
He’s a New Yorker to the fullest – straight from the Bronx – who practiced Tar Heel traditions at North Carolina, before being selected by the Philadelphia Warriors but never playing. Walsh opted for coaching at UNC instead, then South Carolina, then as an assistant coach for Larry Brown with the Denver Nuggets.
A storied career with the Indiana Pacers soon followed, where he rebuilt the team through Reggie Miller. And man, was Miller ever a Knicks killer.
Now Walsh aims to do the same with New York (minus Miller).
It’s only fitting – after talking to Walsh and getting to know his thoughts on the state of the Knicks – that his first change in New York was eliminating the strict and paranoid media policy that had been no doubt hurting the franchise.
Had that policy remained in place, I’m not sure Walsh would have signed-on to help reform the Knicks in the first place. Under the old regime, we certainly wouldn’t have been able to chat courtside without a team representative present, that’s for sure.
He knows the press isn’t the enemy.
Walsh may be getting up there, but he’s as new school as he is old school.
At 68-years-old, he stays up late to watch games on NBA TV, is attached at the hip to his BlackBerry – even if he would rather not be at times – and makes the cross country treks and long road trips to keep tabs on the team and staff.
Is he a miracle worker though?
We’ll find out in the summer of 2010.
pic via: cbc