Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Heisley Email Exchange, Vecsey audio

Below is the email exchange that we read yesterday on the show. One of our listeners, Chris, is a big grizzlies fan that decided to rip off an email to the Grizzlies owner regarding the stories of Marc Iavaroni being fired. He then received a return email from the owner of the Grizzlies which gave us some interesting insight. Thanks to Chris for sending me the exchange.


Mr. Heisley,
I'm sitting here at my desk, not believing what I'm hearing. It
is being reported in Memphis that you are going to fire Coach Iavaroni,
and hire Larry Brown. Tell me it isn't so. You had a chance to hire
him last summer and you chose not to. I'm afraid you are going to set
yourself up as having a reputation that coaches can't succeed here. I
don't know if Coach Iavaroni is good or not, but considering everything
that has happened this year, most of which came from YOU, it is not fair
to him. Let him finish what he started. If you want to fire him
after next year, then so be it, but firing someone with this roster
after what happened this year, after just one year is just wrong. And
me being a Grizzlies fan, and there are not many of us, I don't want to
see you make yet another mistake. Coach Brown is a great coach, but he
would be HORRIBLE for this team. Coach Brown takes teams that are good
and makes them great. He doesn't make horrible teams better. He likes
veterans, and we don't have any. He doesn't like young players and
that's all we have. If you hire him, we will be right back here again
in 2 to 3 years hiring another coach, when he quits. I had hoped you
would have learned that this city will not support a coach that
micromanages his team. Coach Fratello proved that, so why hire another
guy like that. Plus every move you have made points to us cutting cost,
so why fire a coach you still have to pay and then hire a high priced
guy. It just makes no sense. If you don't enjoy this, then PLEASE,
sell the team and sell it quickly because after you are gone, I'll still
be here and will have to deal with your mistakes. I would love to hear
from YOU, not your assistant. I know you are busy man, but you are not
too busy to take my money, so if Mark Cuban can return emails, then so
can you. I appreciate what you have done here. I have been hard on you
and if none of this is true, I'm sorry for bothering you, but I CARE Mr.
Heisley and I don't want to take any more steps back. Hopefully you can
appreciate that. Thank you for your time.


Dear Chris:

First, let me say thanks for your support of the Grizzlies. I know that when a team is losing, it is a difficult time for fans to support their sports team.

Let me assure you that I have not made a decision on Mark Iavaroni as coach, but will make a decision at the end of the year. I have not interviewed any other coaching candidate. Since Jerry West joined the team, he hired Hubie Brown, who won 50 games and Coach of the Year honors. Hubie retired and we hired a coach similar to Hubie, Mike Fratello, who won over 45 games both years he coached.

Jerry West decided the fans wanted an up-tempo coach, so we let Fratello go and made Tony Barone interim coach.

Jerry then recommended Mark Iavaroni from Phoenix, who took over at the beginning of the season. The team was expected to win 30+ games by most professionals including Jerry West. Before we traded Gasol, the team's performance was very poor, and is not the reason for our poor record this year.

You are so right that I do not normally answer e-mails, because I am responsible for over 15,000 employees and 45 companies with sales of about $2.5 billion.

I agree with you that Mark Cuban is a much better owner than me, and I hope the next owner is similar to Mark.

I hope you can appreciate that the Grizzlies have lost over $140 million dollars since I moved the team to Memphis, and during that 7-year period we made the Playoffs 3 times (a much better record over the last 7 years than a significant number of NBA teams).

I assure that I intend to do my best to make the right decisions. I also agree that we have made some bad decisions. I can only hope you choose to stay a fan until I or my successor is able to meet your expectations.

Thanks for your e-mail.


Mike Heisley

Peter Vecsey from the New York Post was on the show yesterday to talk about the coaching situation in Memphis. VECSEY INTERVIEW Did you read the whole column? Ha!