8:57 PM EDT, May 23, 2013
It is time for sportswriters and sportscasters everywhere to fly their notebooks and tape recorders at half-mast.
Stan Van Gundy says he likely won't return to coaching next season and even says there's a possibility he may never return to coaching at all.
That would be a dreary, dismal day for the NBA. Stan is not only one of the best coaches on the basketball planet, he is one of the most candid, provocative interviews in the media world. He can take an otherwise mundane basketball practice and transform it into a discussion on gun control or rock-and-roll.
And maybe that's why Stan, on the one-year anniversary of his firing by the Orlando Magic, isn't rushing back into coaching … because he has other interests totally unrelated to watching basketball videotape. In fact, he admits spending more time watching baseball — and his Atlanta Braves — than he does watching basketball.
He's gotten involved in local politics and has helped raise money for Seminole County schools. He's on the board of directors of the Central Florida Zoo and the Seminole County Boys and Girls Clubs. His wife, Kim, is on the foundation board for Seminole County Public Schools and Seminole State College.
Stan is also spending a lot of time watching his kids grow up. Remember when Urban Meyer supposedly retired from Florida to spend more time with his family and was back pursuing a coaching job just a few months later? Van Gundy truly is spending more time with his family and is not pursuing a coaching job because he likes it.
With two kids in high school in Seminole County, Van Gundy says he has turned down the opportunity in recent weeks to interview for NBA head-coaching jobs. With some decent jobs available (see Clippers, Nets and Hawks), this is a shocking revelation coming from one of the premier coaching candidates in the league.
"It's not like I'm some kind of hero or this is some noble gesture," Van Gundy stresses. "I could change my mind tomorrow. I love what I'm doing right now, but I miss coaching, too. Believe me, it's a constant tug of war.
"In talking it over with my family — with the timing and what [our] priorities are — we just don't think it's a real good time right now to get back into [coaching]. We love where we're living, and quite honestly it would be hard for us to leave Central Florida. ... As much as I would like to be back in coaching, we're all real happy here. I don't know what will happen in the future, but for right now we've decided not to pursue anything."
Asked whether there's a chance he will never coach again, Van Gundy replied: "I guess there's a chance. ... The reason I say that is because I don't know when it will be a good time [to return]. If I'm going to wait until everyone is out of high school, we're talking another four years. By then, I'd still be young enough, but I don't know if there would be any interest [from NBA teams]. Every year you're out of it, it gets harder and harder to get back in."
However, Van Gundy was quick to add that the thought of never coaching again is hard for him to fathom.
"It scares me because coaching is all I've ever done and all I know," he said.
It's this time of year — playoff time — when he misses it most, when his Magic memories always come rushing back. Who in this town will ever forget the incredible high of those first three years when The Stan and Dwight Show was the most entertaining spectacle in the league, when Stan was pushing and prodding and Dwight was dunking and defending and the city was buzzing and bustling?
Then there was the incredible low of the Dwightmare, culminating with Van Gundy getting fired and Howard leaving. Sadly, Stan hasn't stepped foot in the Amway Center since. A huge fan of classic rock, he couldn't even bring himself to go to the Paul McCartney concert last week.
"It's been a year since I've been fired, and it still stings," Van Gundy admits. "I know it sounds weird to people, but I don't feel comfortable going back in that building. It would just be strange to me. I had some good times there, but I just can't bring myself to go back in the Amway Center."
The building hasn't changed much in the last year … except in the media workroom.
That's where you'll find the notebooks and tape recorders still lowered to half-mast.
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