When Frank Layden quit as coach of the Utah Jazz Friday, he said that the National Basketball Assn. has become too serious. If it has, it certainly was no fault of Layden's. He had a quip for every occasion. Recalling his first coaching job:
"I was hired at St. Agnes High School on Long Island. I was a JV basketball coach, taught five history classes a day, one remedial math class, had bus duty, and on Tuesday nights I called bingo numbers.
"After the first year, the Mother Superior called me in and said I'd done such a good job they were considering making me full time."
Asked if he is overweight:
"I don't know, but I stepped on a scale that gives fortune cards, and the card read: 'Come back in 15 minutes--alone.' "
On comparing his rumpled appearance to that of Laker Coach Pat Riley, an immaculate dresser:
"We're both good-looking and we're both Irish. The only difference I can see is that he buys his clothes and I find mine."
On knowing when it was time to lose weight:
"I was standing on a corner wearing a blue suit and a yellow hat, and three people pulled over and dropped off film in my pocket."
After losing a playoff game to the Dallas Mavericks a few years ago:
"I want to say this about the Dallas organization. They're first class. They had imported beer in our locker room."
On questioning a player about not producing:
" 'Is it ignorance, or apathy?' I asked the guy. He looked at me and said, 'I don't know and I don't care.' "
On taking credit for his coaching ability:
"If you gave Michelangelo cheap watercolors, he couldn't have painted the Sistine Chapel. You've got to have the material. A lot of guys screw up good material--then you've got a bad coach. A good coach is one who wins with good players. Nobody wins with bad players."
When asked how long it would take him to have a good team when he first came to Salt Lake City:
"I said 7 years, but I only had a 5-year contract. Why rush things? The world was made in only 6 days, and I don't feel like I would like to have a team in the shape the world is in now."
On remembering what it felt like when he was named coach of the Jazz:
"That's like saying, 'And now, our next speaker was the lookout at Pearl Harbor.' "
The year-by-year record of Coach Frank Layden with the Utah Jazz (1988-89 record through games of Dec. 8). Pos. is position in Midwest Division:
Year Record Pct. Pos. 1981-82 17-45 .274 6 1982-83 30-52 .366 5 1983-84 45-37 .549 1 1984-85 41-41 .500 4 1985-86 42-40 .512 4 1986-87 44-38 .537 2 1987-88 47-35 .573 3 1988-89 11-6 .647 1 Totals 277-294 .485