It’s not every day that the firing of an assistant coach gets news coverage. It’s usually the head coach who takes a chunk of the blame and gets sacked. But one Golden State Warriors assistant coach did a deed so nefarious that the team had to let him go.
Darren Erman, an assistant coach under Mark Jackson, was fired in April 2014 after it was discovered that he had been secretly recording conversations among players and coaches. Whether it was a formal or informal discussion, Erman had his voice recording app on his phone open at all times.
"He was taping everything," one source said. "Taping pregame speeches wouldn't have been that bad, but he was taping guys just sitting around talking in the coaches' office," a source said, per ESPN.
It’s unclear what Erman’s intentions were. Was he so dedicated to his job that he did not want to miss a piece of information, no matter how trivial? Investigations revealed that Erman was sometimes in the recording. On other occasions, he would leave his phone inside the room where some coaches and players were having discussions.
"Was he taping it for himself or was he taping it for management? That's not known," the source said. "But he had a lot of communication with members of the front office."
Interestingly, Erman wasn’t fired right then and then when he was caught red-handed. The first time was caught was in March 2014. After which he reportedly changed for the better but just a few weeks later, he was caught again secretly taping conversations.
Still in the NBA
Right after his dismissal from the Warriors, the Boston Celtics welcomed him with open arms as the director of scouting. Then Celtics general manager Danny Ainge knew of Erman’s wrongdoing but swept it under the rug. Erman’s first foray into the NBA was with the Celtics from 2007 to 2010 as an assistant.
"Darren worked with us for four years and he was one of the hardest working, most competent and intelligent members of our organization," Ainge told Yahoo Sports. "We welcome him back."
Erman’s second stint with the Celtics lasted one season, from 2014 to 2015. He then moved on to the New Orleans Pelicans as an assistant coach from 2015 to 2018. From 2019 to 2020, he was the head coach of the Maine Red Claw (now the Main Celtics) — the Celtics’ G League affiliate. Erman guided them to the third-best 28-14 record in the developmental league. Since 2020, Erman is an assistant coach under Tom Thibodeau with the New York Knicks. He was an assistant coach with Thibs in Boston under Doc Rivers.