By Dave Wischnowsky –
(CBS) One of them has already won two titles. Another has been to two title games. A third has guided a team to a championship series, while a fourth has designs on getting his squad to one of those this season.
It’s time to sit back and smile, Chicago.
Because at this very moment, we’re living in the Golden Era of Coaching in the Windy City – or, at least, it sure looks like we could be.
That’s because with Joel Quenneville (two Stanley Cups), John Fox (two Super Bowl appearances), Joe Maddon (one World Series appearance) and Tom Thibodeau (gunning for an NBA Finals) handling the reins for the Blackhawks, Bears, Cubs and Bulls, I don’t think we’ve ever before been blessed with such a wealth of coaching brain power in the city.
Oh, and Robin Ventura? You’re going to need to step your game up.
After seeing way too much bad baseball, boneheaded football and injury-plagued basketball over the past few seasons, it’s exciting to now see so many gaudy coaching resumes spread across the city, all at once.
Together, the quartet of Quenneville (736-527), Fox (119-89), Maddon (781-729) and Thibodeau (232-123) boast a current collective winning percentage of .560 (1,868-1,468) and have combined to appear in five championship games or series and win two titles.
Granted, only Quenneville has actually won anything of significance in Chicago so far – those two championships belong to him – but all four of those men are considered to be among the sharpest coaching minds in their respective sports. As such, hopes around town feel as lofty as they have in ages.
With that, so too are the expectations – and the pressure.
Ventura may actually feel that weight more than anyone after the White Sox have dropped big bucks this offseason to give him a roster designed to win. Following a solid 85-77 debut campaign in 2012, Ventura’s teams have struggled mightily the past two seasons with a combined record of just 136-188.
And while Ventura’s job status shouldn’t be judged against the accomplishments of his peers throughout the city, the reality is that with Chicago now bursting with so much proven coaching talent, there probably will be an element of keeping up with the Joneses – for everyone.
Which sounds a whole lot better than keeping up with the Trestmans. Or the Quades. Or the Del Negros. Or the Suhonens.
And it also sounds like it should keep things fun in 2015.