How to make a career out of losing…
What can one say about the all-time losingest coach in the history of sports? By his own estimation, he dropped more than 13,000 games in his career and at one point, lost a staggering 7,800 games in a row! The one time he did win (accidentally), he claimed that the crowd reaction was akin to the team having killed Santa Claus.
Ah, Louis “Red” Klotz. The lovable loser. The coach of the now defunct Washington Generals. You know those guys, they were the perennial patsies for the clown princes of basketball, the Harlem Globetrotters.
Actually Red Klotz started out as a pretty decent basketball player in his own right. He grew up in South Philly. He was the leading scorer at his high school, went on to play for Villanova University and even managed a short stint in the NBA for the also defunct Baltimore Bullets.
And I do mean short, his “career” spanned a whopping 11 games in the regular season where he poured in a total of 15 points. His team however, did make the playoffs and he appeared in 6 games and bolstered his stats by wrinkling the nets for and additional 6 more.
Perhaps sensing that the NBA wasn’t for him, Klotz jumped at the chance to try his hand at coaching. When 1953 rolled around, he was approached by the owner of the Globetrotters and asked to put together a team to play against them on a regular basis. Losing became an art form. Again, by his own estimation, Klotz and his Generals lost in front of four Popes and various kings, queens and other assorted royalty. His losing was not limited to traditional basketball venues. He lost on an aircraft carrier and if that wasn’t enough, even managed to drop a game in front of a leper colony. All in all, he lost in 113 countries around the world and in over 1300 towns and cities in the States. If there was a flat surface available, Klotz and his Generals were ready to lose.
Amazingly, “Red” Klotz is still around. After the Generals went belly up in 1995, he went out and bought a new team, the New York Nationals. The Globetrotters routinely kick their ass and Klotz seems none the worse for wear.