Sunday, December 03, 2006

Mancini wants more than Garber's offered, so far


The Saginaw Spirit have the same man handling the general manager and coach's duties.

That man is Bob Mancini, and under his direction the franchise has gone from a laughingstock to one of the best in the league.

Make no mistake about it, Mancini laid the foundation and built on it, erecting a strong squad that seems capable of making a long run in this year's playoffs.

Team owner Dick Garber wants both a general manager and a coach next season. He'll get no argument from Mancini.

"One of the issues Bob and I have had is the dynamics of this situation," Garber said. "I felt and still feel strongly based on our location in Saginaw we need a general manager and a coach; the positions are separate.

"It is a tremendous workload for one person. We're removed from the mainstream of the league being in Saginaw, and I believe Bob is in agreement it is a two-person job. Hopefully we'll come up with a plan that complements the community."

Mancini doesn't disagree with his boss, but he isn't happy Garber hasn't offered him a new contract and his current three-year deal expires in May.

Actually, Garber did submit a proposal to Mancini last summer and Mancini felt slighted by it.

"He offered me a one-year extension and I turned it down," Mancini said. "I would have expected for Dick to offer me a contract to be general manager beyond this year. I think Dick thinks I want to be coach and general manager and that's not true.

"I've told Dick time and time again I just want to be the general manager, but I felt strongly that the right thing for me and the team this year was for me to do both."

The issue is moot right now as far as Garber is concerned.

"We have higher priorities right now, and neither Bob nor I need the distraction right now," Garber said, referring to negotiating with Mancini for next season and possibly beyond.

Mancini doesn't see it the same way.

"I think I've earned a minimum of three years," Mancini said. "They gave (Owen Sound general manager-coach) Mike Futa a four-year extension. I turned it down because not only have I brought stability to this organization, I've obviously shown that I can not only point it in the right direction to win, but I can lead it in the right direction to win.

"I think I've shown so far I deserve a lot more than one year."

Mancini refused to speculate whether Garber is waiting to see how this season turns out before starting serious negotiations to keep him in Saginaw.

"The only pressure I feel is the pressure I put on myself," Mancini said. "That's just to do the best job I can every day."

But Garber said performance is part of any evaluation he makes of Mancini.

"Performance is tied to everything we do, and Bob understands that," Garber said. "He understands the expectations of the franchise. I made it clear to him when I hired him what I expected.

"He has done a great job. He has done exactly what I anticipated he'd do, but we still have a lot to prove. We have not won anything."

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