Bobby Cox who settled into his job as Atlanta Braves manager in 1990, when you could buy an ice cream sandwich and a parakeet at Woolworth, walked away last year.
Jeff Fisher, promoted to head coach of the Houston Oilers in 1994, long before there was such a thing as a Tennessee Titan, was nudged into unemployment last month.
Then there is Jerry Sloan, who moved into his Utah Jazz office in 1988 -- before the public knew of the Internet, much less was allowed to access it -- left the NBA last week.
These three men made adjustments but didn't change their core selves. Meanwhile, the world around them changed dramatically.
You can bet Cox isn't into Twitter, Sloan is still trying to figure out his cell phone and Fisher doesn't want to fuss with the dashboard gadget that tells his car where to go.
They had been the longest-tenured coaches/managers in their respective leagues, and they walked away within four months of one another. Though Cox and Sloan retired, Fisher almost certainly will resurface with another team within a year or two.
There is little or no chance, though, that Fisher will spend 16 seasons at his next stop. Neither will any other coach or manager, at any stop.
That's because fans, general managers and owners won't allow it. We want our desired results as we want our information -- instantly. We're now a high-speed, huge-investment planet, and sports is unable to fight it.
It's an environment where Warriors coach Keith Smart must operate as if he'll get one season to make something of a patchwork roster accustomed to dysfunctional management. Tom Cable and Mike Singletary, in similar situations, got all of two full years.
Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, with a drastically overhauled roster, was under siege one month into this season. The Sacramento Kings have hired three coaches -- and a 58-game interim coach -- since showing Rick Adelman the door less than five years ago.
The Seattle Mariners in 2009 ticked up from 61-101 to 85-77 -- best improvement in the majors -- under rookie manager Don Wakamatsu and fired him four months into '10. Kirk Gibson is the third manager in three years to greet the Arizona Diamondbacks for spring training.
The two seasons Cable got from the Raiders and Singletary from the 49ers is one more than Jim Mora got from the Seattle Seahawks, who hired him in '09 and replaced him with Pete Carroll in 2010.
All of which sounds a death knell on the days of a professional coach/manager lasting into a second decade with one organization. Five such animals remain on the job: Tony La Russa (St. Louis) and Mike Scioscia (Los Angeles Angels) in MLB, Andy Reid (Philadelphia) and Bill Belichick (New England) in the NFL and Gregg Popovich (San Antonio) in the NBA.
No one else in any of these sports was on the job before 2002. The No. 3 guy in baseball, Ron Gardenhire (Minnesota), took over in '02. Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati) and Jack Del Rio (Jacksonville), each hired in 2003, are tied for No. 3 in the NFL. The No. 2 coaches in the NBA, Doc Rivers (Boston) and George Karl (Denver), were hired in 2004.
While Sloan was anchored in Salt Lake City, the NBA had 244 coaching changes, an average of 11 per season. His departure is the 11th change in less than nine months.
If the NFL plays the 2011 season, it will do so with eight men-- representing precisely one-fourth of the 32 teams -- entering their first full year as head coach.
And that's lower turnover than in baseball, where 12 of 30 teams have managers preparing for their first full season.
What may seem like an assault on coaches and managers is really an indication of urgency, combined with the influence of ownership investments.
Fans wanting it now flood the radio airwaves with vitriol if they don't get it. They fire protests into the Internet and eagerly crank up Web sites in which the very name pleads for the firing of a coach or manager.
All of which, along with e-mails and voice mails, sends a shrill ring through the ears of the owners, who spend millions in pursuit of satisfying results.
Any coach daring to endure not only must prosper with regularity but have a solid relationship with a stable front office. Even better is a strong bond with a superstar with a parallel career, as Popovich has with Tim Duncan and Belichick with Tom Brady.
The 21st-century coach/manager has become jungle prey, trying to avoid all manner of traps while outrunning eager hunters who not only want their food but want to eat it now.