Former NBA vet pleads for college coaching job, assures he doesn’t need pay if he can’t win 20 games

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read

Former NBA player Olden Polynice is putting his mouth where his money might be, offering his services to coach a college basketball team and do it for free if the team doesn’t win at least 20 games.

Described as a Fox Sports NBA analyst, coach and basketball consultant in his bio on the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), he played in 15 seasons in the league, wrapping up with two games for Los Angeles Clippers during the 2003-04 campaign.

The former center played his college basketball at the University of Virginia and helped it reach the 1984 NCAA Final Four the season after Ralph Sampson left the school. Polynice eventually became the No. 8 overall pick in the 1987 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls.

He made his NBA debut with the Seattle SuperSonics and played 1,058 regular season games in the league, including time with the Sacramento Kings, Utah Jazz, Detroit Pistons and Clippers.

He is occasionally active on social media and recently questioned the NCAA basketball scoring record set by University of Iowa superstar Caitlin Clark.

Polynice also put forth an interesting take on Victor Wembanyama after the phenom prospect was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, saying the San Antonio Spurs rookie was hoping to be better than Shawn Bradley. He also claimed that Bol Bol had better physical talent and was more ready to play in the league than Wembanyama was.

Though those thoughts could call his player evaluation skills into question, Polynice does have some coaching experience gained with the Long Beach Breakers in the American Basketball Association almost two decades ago.

There is a currently high-profile college basketball opening previously filled by another former NBA big man. The University of Michigan has fired Juwan Howard following its 8-24 season. The 19-season NBA veteran was a member of the school’s famed Fab Five class and served as its head coach for the past five seasons.

It seems unlikely Michigan would turn its attention to Polynice at this point, but his unique offer may be too good to pass up. It will be interesting to see if anyone takes him up on it.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has focused on New York sports. He has covered the NBA and NFL for almost three decades and is still waiting for the next championship for the Knicks and Jets.