Wayne Gretzky Quits As Phoenix Coyotes' Head Coach : The Two-Way Wayne Gretzky, in the opinion of many the greatest hockey player to ever strap on a pair of skates, is stepping down from his role as coach and director of hockey operations for the Phoenix Coyotes, the result of the franchises confused ownership ...
NPR logo Wayne Gretzky Quits As Phoenix Coyotes' Head Coach

Wayne Gretzky Quits As Phoenix Coyotes' Head Coach

Wayne Gretzy coaching the Phoenix Coyotes in a game against the Los Angeles Kings in December. The NHL Hall of Famer stepped down from that post. Ross D. Franklin/AP Photo hide caption

toggle caption
Ross D. Franklin/AP Photo

Wayne Gretzy coaching the Phoenix Coyotes in a game against the Los Angeles Kings in December. The NHL Hall of Famer stepped down from that post.

Ross D. Franklin/AP Photo

Wayne Gretzky, in the opinion of many the greatest hockey player to ever strap on a pair of skates, is stepping down from his role as coach and director of hockey operations for the Phoenix Coyotes, the result of the franchises confused ownership situation.

On his website, www.gretzky.com, "The Great One" said in a statement:

"This was a difficult decision that I've thought long and hard about," said Gretzky. "We all hoped there would be a resolution earlier this month to the Coyotes ownership situation, but the decision is taking longer than expected. Since both remaining bidders have made it clear that I don't fit into their future plans, I approached General Manger Don Maloney and suggested he begin looking for someone to replace me as coach. Don has worked hard and explored many options. I think he has made an excellent choice, and so now it's time for me to step aside.

Gretzky continued the long line of superstars in his sport who failed to achieve anywhere near the comparable success as a coach. Ted Williams in baseball, Michael Jordan in basketball, Diego Maradona in soccer, Bart Starr in football.

The only superstar coach Mark and I could think of was Bill Russell who was a player-coach for the Boston Celtics between 1966 and 1969. But since he was still a player, we're not sure if we should really count him.

Here's a Two-Way challenge: If anyone can think of any other exceptions to the "great players make bad coaches" rule which is starting to look like an iron law of the universe, please weigh in.

Mark throws out the name of Dan Gable, the great Iowa State University wrestler who won Olympic gold and had many NCAA championships as head coach at the University of Iowa. But that wasn't the pro level, of course.