Former Chicago Bulls head coach Jim Boylen has a new job.
On Wednesday, he was named the head coach of Team USA in the first window of qualifications for the 2023 World Cup, per ESPN.
“To have this opportunity to represent my country in the November FIBA World Cup qualifying games is truly humbling,” Boylen said. Boylen will be joined on his staff by former Bulls big man Othella Harrington and Ty Ellis who will work as assistants. I’m sure many people in Chicago are likely wondering how anyone would hire Boylen to coach basketball after his nightmarish stint as the man in charge on the sidelines for the Bulls.
Jim Boylen’s Time With the Bulls Was a Disaster
It is safe to say hiring Boylen to coach the Bulls was a bad decision. In fact, it might have been the single worst decision John Paxson and Gar Forman made during their time in the team’s front office.
Boylen had the second-worst winning percentage in team history (coaches who coached more than 3 games with the team) at .317. The only coach who loss at a higher rate than Boylen was Tim Floyd whose .205 win percentage will be difficult for any coach to break.
Boylen didn’t just lose, though. He seemed to kill any morale the players might have established. He mismanaged the development of young players like Lauri Markkanen and seemed to make the team generally unattractive to perspective free agents.
Bulls players nearly walked out on Boylen at one point in 2018, and he was the coach on the sidelines when the team lost to the Boston Celtics by a franchise-record 56 points the day before.
In an article written to identify the strangest moments of Boylen’s tenure with the Bulls, 670 The Score’s Cody Westerlund wrote: “From a reporter’s perspective, Boylen was a riot throughout his entire tenure. His stubborn, old-school approach led to tension in his locker room in the player empowerment era, and Boylen had such conviction in himself and his methods that there was rarely a probing question that he would sidestep.”
Perhaps he should have avoided a few more of those questions.
Overall, the two years he spent as coach of the Bulls is a time most fans of the team would like to forget.
Meanwhile, Life After Boylen is Looking Up
Billy Donovan was hired to succeed Boylen and while last year’s COVID-19 stricken season wasn’t great, there were at least a few signs of the team moving in the right direction. With Paxson, Forman and Boylen gone, the Bulls’ new regime led by Arturas Karnisovas, Marc Eversley and Donovan are crafting a squad of their own.
In Donovan’s second season as head coach, the Bulls are off to a strong start. After a perfect 4-0 preseason, Chicago kept the momentum going with a 94-88 win over the Detroit Pistons in the regular-season opener on Wednesday night.
I wonder if Boylen was watching while he prepares for his next coaching gig.