Bill Laimbeer Resigns From WNBA's Shock in Search of NBA Work
The timing of the announcement was a surprise as the WNBA regular season schedule kicked off two weeks ago; the Shock have played only three games. Laimbeer, who's long sought a coaching position in the NBA, admitted he made a mistake by waiting so long to make this decision but denied having another job lined up.
"The best way to describe how I feel is when I talk to the media ... the question always comes to me at least once a week: 'Do you see yourself in the NBA?' " he said. "My answer has always been diplomatic: 'I'm having fun doing what I'm doing now but if it comes one day, great.' The best way to say it now is, 'yeah, I do want to go to the NBA. Assistant coach, head coach – that's my passion, that's my goal.' "I haven't interviewed with anybody. ... I'm going full speed on looking for opportunities in the NBA."
"When someone asks me the question, I want to say yes. If the answer is 'yes,' how can I focus on being the head coach of the Detroit Shock when all my concentration and focus is elsewhere? I'll be doing them a disservice; I'll be doing myself a disservice and the organization. That's not who I am. It never has been who I am. I'm always 100% all-in with two feet, emotionally and physically, and if I'm not able to do that then I'm not going to just get a paycheck. I'm going to go home."
Those familiar with Laimbeer shouldn't be surprised -- he expressed the same sentiments when he announced his retirement as a player, walking away from the game when he was only 36 years old and still productive.
Fortunately for the Shock, he leaves the team in capable hands. Rick Mahorn, one of Laimbeer's assistant the last five seasons, will take over as head coach, while Cheryl Reeve, an assistant the last four years, will assume Laimbeer's general manager duties.
So what's next for Laimbeer? With any luck, finally landing the long-desired NBA gig. As recent as 2005 he was linked to high profile jobs such as the Knicks' then-vacant position. But despite nothing but success on the women's circuit, his profile seems to have diminished as he's rarely mentioned anymore as a serious candidate when jobs open up.
He hopes that changes now that he can completely focus his efforts on finding a job, although it won't be with the Pistons. "[Joe Dumars] has staff in place and I'm looking for opportunities elsewhere," he said.
"I haven't interviewed with anybody. ... I've went ahead to divest myself of one [opportunity] to pursue another. So now I'm divesting of the WNBA -- I'm going full speed on looking for opportunities in the NBA."