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March 13, 1987 - Image 25

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-03-13

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Bill Pugliano

Rothstein is happy to be back on the bench with Pistons' coach Chuck Daly.

"He analyzes tapes (of future
opponents) along with myself .. .
He analyzes the scouting report put
together by (assistant coach) Dick
Versace, who's our road man; he
keeps a chart on the bench, which
is probably one of the most impo-
rtant tools that we have, in that he
keeps every possession, what we do
with the ball, what happens to us
defensively, second shots. Along
with that, he makes copious notes
at the end of the game that we
refer back to. We play so many
games in a week — we'll play four
games in six nights — that when
we have these notes, we can refer
back as to what was successful
against a team, what problems we
had with a team. So he's really
kind of a manager of material,
along with being a coach on the
Born in the Bronx and raised
there and in suburban New York,
Rothstein quickly developed a love
for basketball. But Jewish role
models were not his inspiration. "I
don't think that ever came into
play, whether the role model was
Jewish or not. I admired good
athletes." He just took off across

the street to the Bronx's DeWitt
Clinton High School, where he
spent much of his time on the bas-
ketball court.
His family moved to Yonkers
when Rothstein was 11 but, fate-
fully, his co-op had a basketball
court downstairs. He went on to
play at New York's Roosevelt High
School and the University of Rhode
Island. "I was your typical, basic
point guard," he recalls. In high
school I scored. I think my senior
year I averaged like 17 (points) a
game. But in college the most I
ever averaged was, I think, seven a
game my senior year."
Rothstein was an All-State
high school player, a three-year col-
lege starter at Rhode Island and
captain during his senior year. "I
understood the game, even back
then, fairly well. Get the other
guys involved, play defense, deliver
the ball, run the break, that kinda
thing. Even then, I was trying to
be a coach. I was ahead of myself."
Rothstein had ambitions of pl-
aying pro basketball "when I was
younger, but as I grew up and by
the time I got through playing in
college, I realized that that was not

gonna happen. I was just too small
(5 feet 9 inches) and not good
After graduating from Rhode
Island, Rothstein, who eventually
earned a Master's degree from
Hunter College, returned to Yon-
kers and took a junior high teach-
ing job. He also coached junior high
basketball and was a volunteer
assistant at Roosevelt for two
years. Then he "jumped at the
chance" to be the head coach of
Eastchester High in New York,
where he also taught physical edu-
cation. He taught at Eastchester
for 17 years, until he was hired
full-time by Atlanta.
He coached Eastchester for
eight seasons, then was an assis-
tant coach for two years at Upsala
State College in New Jersey. He
moved back to New York high
school basketball, coaching New
Rochelle for two seasons, before re-
turning as head coach at Eastches-
ter for five years, beginning in
While at Eastchester, Hubie
Brown hired Rothstein as a part-
time Atlanta scout. "I would cover
the northeast corridor, scout up-

coming opponents — in Ph-
iladelphia, Washington, Boston,
New York and New Jersey. It was
a tight schedule but it worked out."
He scouted for the Hawks from
1979-1981, then worked for the
New York Knicks when Brown
coached there in 1982-1983.
After 19 years of teaching and
coaching junior high, high school
and college athletes, Rothstein got
his big break when Fratello was
hired as Atlanta's head coach.
Fratello tabbed Rothstein as his
assistant for game preparation and
pro scouting.
"It was sort of a natural
thing," said Rothstein. "When Mike
got the job in Atlanta, he offered
me (a job) and took me along."
But in his third and final year
in Atlanta, the Hawks added
former player and coach Willis
Reed to the staff, and Rothstein be-
came more of a scout than a coach.
"Mike just said to me, 'Look, this is
a role that we need for you to ac-
cept. We understand that it's not
what you really want to do, but it's
something that is necessary for the

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