NBA

What Happened to Tim Floyd, the Man Chosen to Replace Phil Jackson as Head Coach of the Chicago Bulls?

It’s likely that most reading this hadn’t thought about Tim Floyd in quite some time until recently. However, with “The Last Dance” documentary, which tells the story of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Phil Jackson and the 1997-1998 Chicago Bulls, finally hitting the airwaves, his name is going to be thrown around for a bit as the stories continue to be told.

Floyd was the man chosen to lead the rebuild of the Bulls after Phil Jackson was more or less let go after a decade of success in the Windy City. So I thought this would be a good time to take a quick look back on the career of Tim Floyd. How did he put himself in position to get the job in Chicago? How bad was his run with the Bulls? And what happened to him after he left the NBA?

Let’s take a look.

Tim Floyd’s early coaching career

As a player, Tim Floyd walked on to the basketball team at the University of Southern Mississippi but later transferred to Louisiana Tech as a scholarship player, where he also spent a year as an assistant coach during the 1976-1977 season. He went to UTEP the following season as an assistant to Hall of Famer Dom Haskins and stayed in El Paso until 1986 when he was given the head coaching job at the University of Idaho. He led the Vandals to consecutive winning seasons but moved on to the University of New Orleans in 1988, where he coached for six seasons before taking his biggest job to date with Iowa State in 1994.

Tim Floyd became the first head coach in Iowa State history to lead the Cyclones to three straight 20-win seasons, including a school-record 23-win season in 1994-1995, his first year with the team. He broke that record the following year as the Cyclones won 24 games. Floyd was the runner-up to Purdue’s Gene Keady for AP National Coach of the Year honors in 1996. He led the team to the Sweet 16 in 1997 but spent just one more year in Ames as bigger things were unfolding.

Tim Floyd became friends with Jerry Krause and took over for Phil Jackson with the Chicago Bulls in 1998

As shown in “The Last Dance” documentary, Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause took a major interest in Tim Floyd. It was known that he was looking to replace Phil Jackson as the head coach in the Windy City and he was constantly seen with Floyd. Krause actually wanted to bring Tim Floyd to Chicago ahead of the 1997-1998 season but Jackson was given one final season with the Bulls, which he named “The Last Dance.” With an aging roster and bad relationships with numerous players, Krause was looking to rebuild the Bulls. He wanted to go younger and thought that Tim Floyd was his man.

Once the Bulls won their sixth championship, the team was disbanded and Tim Floyd was announced as the new head coach in July 1998. Things certainly didn’t go as well as Jerry Krause would have liked. In the lockout-shortened NBA season of 1999, Chicago posted a 13-37 record, the worst in the Eastern Conference. In 1999-2000, the Bulls were 17-65 and had the second-worst record in the NBA. One wouldn’t think it could get worse but it did in 2000-2001 when Tim Floyd “led” the team to a 15-67 mark, the worst in franchise history. He began his fourth season with a 4-21 record and had enough. He was having trouble with players and management and resigned on Christmas Eve in 2001. Floyd left the Bulls with a 49-190 (.205) record. So much for the rebuild.

His career after leaving the Bulls

Following his departure from the Chicago Bulls, Tim Floyd was given one more head coaching opportunity in the NBA with the New Orleans Hornets in 2003-2004. It was actually his best season in the pros at 41-41 but he was still let go from the team after just one year.

He returned to the college game in 2005, taking over the USC basketball program that was riddled with turmoil. Henry Bibby had been let go and then former Utah coach Rick Majerus took the job but then mysteriously resigned five days later. Tim Floyd came in and relieved interim coach Jim Saia and did well in his time there, at least for a while. In his second season, he led the Trojans to the most wins in school history (25) and led the team to the Sweet 16. However, his time at USC did not end well as rumors of improper benefits to players began to swirl. The ensuing investigation showed that Floyd knew of numerous NCAA violations involving O.J. Mayo. Floyd resigned from USC in 2009.

Things came full circle for Tim Floyd in 2010 as he returned to UTEP, this time as the head coach. He coached the Miners until 2017 when he quit just five games into the 2017-2018 season. He never made an NCAA Tournament appearance in his final coaching job.