Two sides of loyalty in sport management

After giving up a 3-1 lead to lose in 7 games to the New York Rangers, the Pittsburgh Penguins fired GM Ray Shero while the fate of coach Dan Bylsma was left in the hands of the replacement GM. There are likely a multitude of reasons for firing Shero. The most important one may be his loyalty to Bylsma. After another early exit from the playoffs last season, Shero extended Bylsma’s contract to match his own, making a strong statement to bet his career on his trust in the coach who brought him a Cup in 2009. He lost the bet.

In Toronto, GM Dave Nonis also stuck by his coach. But Randy Carlyle didn’t extend this loyalty his assistants. So, while Carlyle gets a two-year extension (but not matching his own), he will get brand new sidekicks.

Clearly, there are two sides to the loyalty coin in sport management.