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Jerry West on Pat Riley.   

 "He's inventive. He makes good, quick decisions in games," former Lakers General Manager Jerry West told Sports Illustrated in 1985. "He has the faith of the team and the knowledge to design an offense for the players and not the coach. He has tremendous belief in himself and his sense of his role here. He [has] the perfect temperament."  

Great Coaches, Great Leaders ...  
I think so.

The 1980-81 Lakers suffered a shocking first-round elimination at the hands of Houston, and 11 games into the 1981-82 season, Lakers brass felt the team needed to take a new direction. Friction between Magic Johnson and Westhead and impatience with Westhead's half-court offense set the scene for Riley to take over as head coach on Nov. 19, 1981. "I was numb," he said at the time. "I thought the firing was terrible."

   Riley installed a running offense and the Lakers responded by winning 17 of the next 20 games and finished the season at 57-25. In the playoffs they swept both Phoenix and San Antonio before knocking off Philadelphia in six games to give Riley a championship ring in his first season as head coach.

  For the next eight years, Riley's Lakers teams were regulars in the NBA Finals. It was during that time that he developed what he called "TI," his fits of temporary insanity. According to his book The Winner Within, effective TI involves "being angry at the right time to the right degree, at the right people.... It requires a focused plan, and it demands a rapid follow-up of compassion to prevent lasting damage."

   Friend and movie director Robert Towne described one such outburst for Sports Illustrated. It came after a loss to San Antonio in which the players spent a timeout watching Dancing Barry instead of paying attention as Riley diagrammed a play in the closing minutes. "In comes a man with a tray of about 40 Cokes.... [Riley] sweeps his arm across the tray and sprays Coke and ice all over, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's seven feet of new suit. And Riley has the satisfaction, while he makes his case for how terrible they are, of being able to crunch around, grinding the ice cubes into the carpet."

  It was in L.A. that Riley also developed his penchant for slick suits. "Dress is a decorum I have to keep as a coach," he told writer Kenny Moore. "My first year I was slacks, coat, tie, very soft. Then it began to change to more authority, and suits."

   The Lakers made it back to the Finals each of the next two seasons, but they were swept by Philadelphia in 1983 and then edged by Boston in seven games in 1984. Finally, in 1985, the Lakers reclaimed the title by beating the Celtics in six games. The victory was one of the most satisfying achievements of Riley's career. Up to that point, Boston had won all eight NBA Finals matchups against the Lakers. Riley was determined to motivate his players, disarm the Celtics "mystique," and come away with another ring. He did.  


Leader attributes... start with these:

Asks the right questions

Poses the right challenges

Models the right enthusiasm

Has the right timing

Creates more leaders

Manages processes

Improves systems

Is data driven

Studies and understands variation;  common and system causes vs. special / assignable causes 



Why are these things important....coming soon



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