As I laid out earlier this week, it’s a trying time in the Washington, D.C. sports landscape. Almost all of the local professional sports franchises are facing crucial turning points in their respective histories. There are a lot of turnover and changes happening across the District.
Except on South Capitol Street.
Looking around town, the Nationals’ Mike Rizzo and Davey Martinez are the longest tenured general manager and manager/head coach, respectively, among Washington’s teams, providing stability in the usually unstable industry of professional sports.
The Commanders, under new managing owner Josh Harris, reportedly hired new general manager Adam Peters on Friday. Peters will surely clean house in the front office and help ownership hire the team’s next head coach. A lot of change is happening quickly with the local football team, which is hoping to return to the glory years of the historic franchise.
Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan is one of the longest-tenured general managers in town behind Rizzo, heading up the local hockey operation since 2014. The Caps did win the franchise’s first Stanley Cup under MacLellan in 2018, but have gone through four head coaches since he took the job. They are currently under first-year head coach Spencer Carbery as the team tracks Alex Ovechkin’s record-setting goal chase and plans for a younger core of players in the future.
The Wizards just hired a new president and general manager last year. They are expected to assemble a new coaching staff after this season, in which they currently own the second-worst record in the National Basketball Association while heading toward a lottery pick in this summer’s draft.
The Mystics for much of the last decade had the longest-tenured head coach with Mike Thibault leading the team from 2012 to 2022 while also being the general manager, headlined by a Women's National Basketball Association championship in 2019. But last year, they underwent some change as Thibault retired from coaching and moved into the full-time GM role as his son, Eric, became the team’s head coach.
In soccer, both D.C. United and the Washington Spirit made front office changes within the last three months and hired new head coaches this past week. United is traditionally one of D.C.’s most successful teams, boasting four Major League Soccer Cups, but none since 2004, and the Spirit won a National Women's Soccer League championship in 2021.
By the end of this NBA season, Washington will have new heads of operations with its football team and both soccer teams, which will also have first-year head coaches. The men’s basketball team will be beginning its second year under new leadership and likely starting fresh with a first-year head coach. The hockey and women’s basketball teams have established general managers, though for a shorter time than Rizzo, but both will be entering the second year under new head coaches.
And then there are the Nationals, who are about to enter their 16th year with Rizzo as the general manager - the third-longest-tenured head of baseball operations in the major leagues and by far the longest-tenured head man in Washington - and their seventh year with Martinez, the longest-tenured skipper in town, continuing the longest run by a manager in club history. Oh, and they won a World Series championship in 2019.
Both Rizzo and Martinez signed multi-year extensions this past summer, which will keep them around even longer as they look to see this rebuild through. While hoping for the promotions of top prospects and more improvement at the major league level this year, the duo can see a competitive roster by at least 2025. Then it will be time to retest their mettle.
For now, the Nationals can celebrate that, in the ever-changing business of professional sports, they’ve had staples in the two most important positions in the organization. Something the other D.C. teams cannot say yet.