Hargrove: "I definitely didn't feel secure"
I reached Linda Hargrove and was able to get her take on her firing along with some other hot topics from the past season.
Mystics President and Managing Partner Sheila Johnson and Chief Operating Officer Greg Bibb met with Hargrove on Friday to tell her she was being fired because the team was moving in a different direction. She said it seems like more change is forthcoming, but that she hasn't been involved in the team's conversations about the future.
Hargrove said she wasn't overly surprised with the team's decision, considering Johnson's comments in August.
"I definitely didn't feel secure," Hargrove said. "[Johnson] and I had always had a pretty open level of communication so when I saw her comments in the paper I was definitely surprised. I didn't know she felt that way about the team, about our talent level. Any time your boss questions everything you do in a public way you start to wonder what's going to happen next."
The Mystics admittedly were not without their share of uncontrollable problems, whether injuries or players wanting to leave or not being available to stay (ie Nikki Teasley's pregnancy) but Hargrove said the toughest part of her four-year tenure was the constant rotation of people through the front office.
"A hard thing about Washington has been that in my time as general manager we had two ownership groups, three COOs and four coaches," she said. "Trying to satisfy all those different entities has been a juggling act and it was always a struggle. But I'm a general manager who was a former coach so I've always thought that I've been very sensitive to what the coach believed we needed to succeed and I tried to do my best to accommodate that."
Hargrove also said the team was aware of the repercussions on the 2008 season when it sent Taj McWilliams-Franklin to Detroit for Tasha Humphrey, Shay Murphy and a second round draft pick during the Olympic break when the Mystics were still just two games out of the playoffs.
"This year we weren't what we were at the end of last year, but when the trade was made we knew that hurt our chances of being successful," Hargrove said. "We didn't think we were necessarily going to go 8-0 no matter what [after the break]. We knew the trade would improve Detroit and ultimately hurt us, but that decision was one that management agreed on."
She's going to take some time off but said she would like to spend more time in professional basketball. "Some people have already been in contact with me and I think there are some people in professional women's basketball who think I have a lot of expertise in it," Hargrove said. "I'm a little sorry things ended the way they did but I know professional sports aren't a stable business.
"My first venture into it after college the league folded (referencing her time with Colorado in the ABL), then my team folded (Portland) then three months after I'm GM in Washington the team gets sold. Changes happen, it's part of the business."
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