Lou Piniella’s special weekend gives us a perfect chance to discuss who would be on Seattle’s Mount Rushmore of coaches and managers.
Despite no World Series appearances, in my opinion - Sweet Lou – is definitely on that list.
Pete Carroll? Absolutely. Thanks to the first Super Bowl title in Seahawks franchise history, Carroll would be the most recent coach deserving of a place on the mountainside. He’d likely take the place of Mike Holmgren, who was a Seattle coaching icon for a decade, but thanks to the officials, was on the losing end of Seattle’s first Super Bowl berth.
The third? Legendary Husky football coach Don James, who led the Dawgs to six Rose Bowls and a national championship in 1991.
You could say the Dawgfather’s place on Seattle’s coaching Mt. Rushmore…. Is set in stone.
So who would be the fourth? In my opinion, it’s Lenny Wilkens or George Karl. In terms of championships, status and legacy, it should be Wilkens. In terms of personality, it should be Karl. I’ll defer to the ’79 Sonics championship team, not to mention Wilkens’ stronger ties to the Seattle community at-large. Wilkens would be my fourth coach on Seattle’s coaching Mt. Rushmore.
Who else should be considered? It’s an impressive list. Everyone from Sigi Schmid, who led the Sounders to three straight U.S. Open Cup titles, to Anne Donovan and Brian Agler, who led the Storm to a league title. Legendary Pacific Lutheran football coach Frosty Westering, and Huskies basketball coach Lorenzo Romar.
But for now, there they are: Piniella, Carroll, James and Wilkens. That’s a Fantastic Four.
It also raises an interesting hypothetical, only relevant because the Mariners are still in the playoff hunt.
If the M’s finally reached a World Series under Lloyd McClendon, would he replace Piniella? Or would they have to win it all? Piniella is clearly a beloved figure in Seattle sports lore – but would the M’s have to accomplish to give the edge to the less-charismatic McClendon? We can only hope to face that question in the next couple years.
But for now, we celebrate Sweet Lou on his induction weekend, and say thanks once again.
And to everyone on my current Mt. Rushmore of Seattle sports leaders – without any one of them - our city wouldn’t be the same.