Although not an enormous surprise, it was sad to learn that Lovie Smith was fired after nine years as head coach of the Chicago Bears. His calm demeanor, high integrity, and deep respect from players, coaches and fans made Lovie a unique leader. Even after a 10-win season the new general manager Phil Emery wanted a change, supposedly because of “the team’s inability to perennially advance to the postseason.”
Lovie’s firing is a harsh reminder of the immediate success expectation that is rampant in sports today, as well as the low priority assigned to character, family, integrity, leadership, and self-sacrifice. He hasn’t won a Super Bowl, but he’s one of the most respected coaches in the NFL. He’s the type of guy you trust and root for because you understand there are more important things than winning a game. He represents the best in sports. However, the only measuring stick that seems to matters is immediate championships. It’s sad.
Similar to Tony Dungy, Lovie will be hotly pursued by other teams. He will be successful, and will continue to provide high caliber leadership for another NFL team. His day in the sun will come soon enough, but it will come on his terms, and will be achieved the right way. Too bad for Chicago. Another coach will come, and hopefully win. But it will be a very long time before a better person patrols the sidelines for the Chicago Bears.