The world of international soccer gasped Tuesday at the news that Sam Allardyce had been fired as manager of England’s national team after coaching just one match.
Allardyce, who was hired July 22 and signed a contract through 2018, was sent packing after he was caught on video advising undercover reporters of crooked ways to get around player-transfer rules. In exchange, he asked the journalists posed as businessmen for a six-figure sum.
Allardyce lasted just 67 days as manager of the England team, but that could classify as a lengthy stay compared to some other professional and college coaches whose tenures were fleeting.
Sven-Goran Eriksson, soccer
Eriksson reportedly received a $2 million per year deal to become director of football at Notts County in the summer of 2009, believing the organization would soon be promoted to the Premier League. Large-scale facility investments were planned, and Premier League players Sol Campbell and Kasper Schmeichel joined the club. But Campbell lasted just one match, and Schmeichel was released at the end of the season. Following the club’s takeover the following winter as it sat on the verge of financial collapse, Eriksson resigned after seven months on the job, honorably waiving a multimillion dollar payoff in the process.
Brian Clough, soccer
Clough was one of the top goal scorers in English football history before he moved into the coaching ranks in the mid-1960s. He took over as manager of Leeds United in 1974, a surprising move, considering he had shown disdain for what he considered the team’s dirty style of play. Clough’s opinions didn’t seem to wane much after he took the job, and he quickly got on the bad side of several top players. After winning just one of his first six matches, Clough was canned by the club’s directors after just 44 days at the helm, despite numerous protests by the club’s fans.
Magic Johnson, NBA
Johnson found out just how difficult it can be for an NBA star to transition into coaching. Johnson, a 12-time All-Star and three-time league MVP with the Los Angeles Lakers from 1979-91, took over as head coach of his former team late in the 1993-94 season, after Randy Pfund was fired. The Lakers were already thin on talent and lost five of their first six games under Johnson, which prompted him to announce that he would resign at the end of that season. He finished 5-11 as a head coach, returned to the Lakers as a player for the final four months of the 1995-96 campaign and then hung the sneakers up for good.
Jerry Tarkanian, NBA
Tark the Shark rose to prominence as head coach of the UNLV basketball team from 1973-92, leading the Runnin’ Rebels to the NCAA tournament championship in 1990 and three other Final Fours. He decided to take a stab at the NBA and was hired by the San Antonio Spurs prior to the 1992-93 season. Tarkanian lasted just 20 games, however. The Spurs opened with a 9-11 mark, and stress from the job landed Tarkanian in the hospital with chest pains. Players began to rebel against his tactics, and he was dismissed just hours before his 21st game.
Billy Donovan, NBA
Donovan figured it was time to give the NBA a try after he coached Florida to back-to-back NCAA tournament championships in 2006 and ’07. He accepted an offer to become head coach of the Orlando Magic in June 2007 but quickly had second thoughts, even with emerging stars such as Dwight Howard and JJ Redick on the roster. Less than a week after signing the deal, Donovan begged the Magic to release him from the contract, and they obliged. Donovan returned to Florida for eight seasons before giving the NBA another look in 2015, when he was hired by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Barry Melrose, NHL
Melrose put himself on the map by guiding the Los Angeles Kings to the 1993 Stanley Cup Final in his first season as an NHL head coach. He parlayed that into a 13-year stint as a hockey analyst with ESPN. He then decided to give coaching another try and was hired by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2008. He lasted just 16 games before he was fired, however, in an ending that was reportedly set in motion by Melrose’s reluctance to give heavy minutes to young star Steven Stamkos. Melrose refused to budge on other issues too and was soon back with ESPN.
Lou Holtz, NFL
Before he made a name for himself at Arkansas and Notre Dame, Holtz took aim at the NFL. His sights were sorely off-target, however. Holtz left North Carolina State after four successful seasons to take over as head coach of the New York Jets in 1976, and he inherited aging quarterback Joe Namath. The Jets scored just 26 points in their first four games and were 3-10 when Holtz resigned with one game remaining. The three wins came against the 2-12 Buffalo Bills (twice) and the 0-14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Holtz took the head-coaching job at Arkansas the following season and went 60-21-2 in seven seasons with the Razorbacks.
Bill Belichick, NFL
Belichick will go down as one of the greatest NFL head coaches in history, but he also had one of the shortest stints, as he lasted one day with the New York Jets in early 2000. Belichick had been the Jets’ assistant head coach and defensive backs coach under Bill Parcells the previous three seasons, so when Parcells retired after the 1999 campaign, Belichick was the natural choice to take over. When he showed up for the news conference to formally announce his hiring, Belichick instead tendered his resignation on a sheet of loose paper that read, “I resign as HC of the NYJ.” Not long after, he was hired by the New England Patriots, with whom he has since won four Super Bowls.
Eddie Stanky, MLB
Stanky falls into the category of one-and-done coaches, as his tenure with the Texas Rangers lasted one game in 1977. Stanky was a three-time All-Star as a player in the 1940s and ’50s, and he served managerial stints with the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago White Sox. He went to the college level and found success with South Alabama but was lured back to the major leagues to replace Frank Lucchesi, who was fired after Texas’ 31-31 start. The Rangers beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-1 in Stanky’s debut on July 22, 1977, but homesickness and disenchantment with the changed attitudes of players prompted Stanky to quit the following day and return to South Alabama.
Rick Majerus, college basketball
Majerus was a five-time Western Athletic Conference coach of the year at Utah during the 1990s. Then he left after the 2003-04 season to focus on his health. He couldn’t resist an offer to coach USC the following season, however, and his bubbly personality was on full display at the news conference welcoming him to the school. Five days later, subdued and somber, he announced that his health would not allow him to perform his new duties and resigned. Majerus returned to the bench three years later with Saint Louis, where health issues again sidelined him at the start of the 2012-13 season. He died of heart failure on Dec. 1, 2012, at age 64.
Other notable short tenures
Bobby Cremins, college basketball: Cremins decided to remain at Georgia Tech three days after he accepted the head-coaching position at South Carolina in March 1993.
Bobby Petrino, NFL: Petrino resigned 13 games into his first season with the Atlanta Falcons in 2007. He left a note taped on each player’s locker before returning to the college level at Arkansas.
George O’Leary, college football: O’Leary left Georgia Tech in 2001 to become head coach at Notre Dame, but inaccuracies in his published biography forced him to resign before he could coach a game with the Irish.
Mike Price, college football: Price was hired at Alabama in December 2002 but never signed the contract, and the university pulled it off the table six months later, after a strip club incident.
Arizona Diamondbacks after the 2004 season but was fired four days later, when previous off-the-field issues came to light.
George Allen, NFL: Allen returned to coach the Los Angeles Rams in 1978 but was fired after two preseason games, when team owner Carroll Rosenbloom decided Allen was incapable of adjusting to the new situation.
Tim Welsh, college basketball: Welsh was hired at Hofstra In 2010 but was arrested for driving under the influence 31 days later and resigned.
Mike Haywood, college football: Haywood was hired at Pittsburgh shortly after the 2010 season but was fired two weeks later, following his arrest on a felony domestic battery charge.
Rollie Massimino, NBA: Massimino accepted an offer to coach the New Jersey Nets, but he had a change of heart and never showed up for an introductory news conference the following day. Instead, he remained at Villanova.