January 25, 1977 -- When it comes to coaching in Buffalo, it's fair to say Tates Locke never had much of a chance.
Locke was hired as the replacement for Jack Ramsey in the summer of 1976. Ramsey went on to coach the Portland Trailblazers, and you know how that worked out ... for him. Ramsey led Bill Walton and Co. to a championship.
Locke, who as head coach at Army hired a young assistant named Bobby Knight, had a tougher time. John Y. Brown became the team's part-owner around that time, and he made things, um, difficult. Brown brought several new faces in that season. Adrian Dantley was the team's first-round draft choice, and Moses Malone was acquired in a deal. But Malone didn't work out, and then Locke saw his superstar, Bob McAdoo, traded to the Knicks in December, 1976. That took the life out of the franchise, essentially forever.
The Braves fell to 16-30 by January 1977, so Locke became the scapegoat. Bob MacKinnon replaced him on an interim basis.
Locke went on to coach at Indiana State and Jacksonville. By the way, supposedly his life was used for a basis of the movie, "Blue Chips," starring Nick Nolte and Jim Boeheim. (Syracuse coach Boeheim actually only had a cameo, but I've always wanted to write that last sentence.)
For more on the 1976-77 Braves, click here.
--- Budd Bailey