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Albeck Says He’ll Never Return to the NBA

Associated Press

Stan Albeck, former Chicago Bulls coach, has a job he is very happy with but the Bradley coach harbors some bitter feelings against his NBA employer.

Albeck, 55, took over a Bradley program that will go through a year’s probation ordered by the NCAA for recruiting violations under former Coach Dick Versace.

With a three-year National Basketball Assn. contract in hand, Albeck held Chicago together for a 30-52 finish and a berth in the Eastern Conference playoffs--despite All-Star guard Michael Jordan missing 64 games with a foot injury.

Four weeks after the season ended, Bulls board chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, prodded by vice president for basketball operations Jerry Krause, fired Albeck in favor of Doug Collins.

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Albeck says his experience with last year’s Bulls signals the end of his NBA coaching days.

“I’ll never go back,” he said. “Everything that’s wrong with the Chicago Bulls is a microcosm of everything that’s wrong with a lot of teams in the NBA these days.

“You get a fellow who has made $150 million in real estate and he wants a new toy so he buys an NBA team and hires a general manager who’s going to try and make him feel like he knows something about pro basketball. Within no time, they have the whole franchise screwed up,” Albeck said.

“And the most tragic thing is that the talents of a once-in-a-lifetime player like Michael Jordan have to be wasted while the basketball part of the front office tries to learn the game through on-the-job training,” he said.

“People like a Jerry Reinsdorf simply don’t understand that the great NBA programs like Boston and Los Angeles and Milwaukee took time and professional talent to build,” Albeck said. “The Bulls have no chance of entering the NBA’s upper strata until they go out and get some intelligent help to run their basketball operation.”

Albeck would have entered the 1986-87 season as the NBA’s third-most-successful active coach with more than 300 victories, behind only Boston’s K.C. Jones and Milwaukee’s Don Nelson.

Albeck says his fortunes now are centered at Bradley.

“This is where I’ll retire as a basketball coach,” he said.

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After the Braves officially opened 1986-87 practice, well-wishers at a local restaurant sent over champagne and other drinks and a local attorney insisted on picking up Albeck’s $70 dinner tab.

Albeck, a Bradley alumnus, is living on one of the top floors of The Twin Towers, a 30-story riverfront building.

With $235,000 in severence pay due from the Chicago Bulls by next summer and a five-year guaranteed contract at Bradley, he will probably make more money in the next three years than he has in any comparable stretch of his 30-year coaching career.

And as part of a five-year salary-endorsement-media deal that reportedly will reach $195,000 per year, he and his wife, Phyllis, have two new Mark VIII Lincolns at their disposal.

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“The computer even tells us which way to Chenoa,” Albeck, a native of that Southern Illinois city, said of the cars.


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