Jerry Krause is a survivor.

Devastated by losing the Bulls job in 1976, he plunged back into two-sport, year-round work. He landed scouting jobs with the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Lakers, for whom he suggested drafting relatively unknown guard Norm Nixon.

Bill Veeck brought him home again.

Acquaintances since the 1960s, the charismatic White Sox owner invited Krause to lunch at Schaller's Pump in the fall of 1978. Twelve hours later, with his job duties mapped out on a tablecloth, Krause had been hired with a handshake.

The association reinvigorated Krause, and it also proved fortuitous when Veeck sold the franchise three years later to Eddie Einhorn and Jerry Reinsdorf. When Reinsdorf led an investing group that purchased a controlling interest in the Bulls in February 1985, he replaced Rod Thorn with Krause six weeks later.

Remarkably, Krause owned his same dream job again nine years later.

This start went only slightly better than his disastrous 1976 stint. Krause hired Stan Albeck as coach. And Jordan broke a bone in his left foot in the third game of the 1985-86 season, creating the first of many territorial spats between him and Krause.

Jordan wanted to play as quickly as possible. Krause, Reinsdorf and doctors opted for a more conservative approach.

"I wouldn't have been able to live with myself if Michael had been hurt permanently," Krause says. "That injury drove a wedge between him and me for good."

Happier times followed. Krause's surprising hire of Doug Collins as coach worked to a point, and then, after a loss to the Pistons in the 1989 Eastern Conference semifinals, came Collins' equally surprising dismissal — and the ascension of Jackson.

"I called Phil, sat him down in the office and said, 'Here's what it is. Go get 'em, Big Fella,' " Krause says. "Then I told him, 'Go back to Montana, let the media firestorm die down and this sink in.' "

What did Krause see in Jackson, whom he had hired as Collins' assistant out of relative obscurity from the Continental Basketball Association?

"I saw Bill Fitch," Krause says. "I saw Red Holzman. I saw a different breed of cat. I saw a drive in him. He tried to get a coaching job in the NBA for four or five years, and everybody turned him down. Everybody thought he was crazy. I was the only one who didn't think he was too crazy. I thought he was a little goofy. But I also thought he'd be a great defensive coach.

"I told Jerry what I saw. He said, 'OK.' And the rest is history."

Six championships in eight seasons. An NBA-record 72-10 season. Grant Park championship rallies serving as defining touchstones for Chicago sports fans.

"I remember we landed at O'Hare after we won the first title," Krause says. "Descending on the city, it was the most beautiful sight. I remember that feeling that it was your town, the town you grew up in, and you had provided it some happiness. I'm a proud Chicagoan. I really love this city."

Fans spewed venom at Krause for what came next. The courtship of Floyd during Jackson's tenure and, ultimately, Floyd's hiring. Anemic 17- and 15-win seasons. Draft busts such as Marcus Fizer and Dalibor Bagaric. The controversial Elton Brand-for-Tyson Chandler trade.

"No college coach can do it because the game has changed too much," Krause says of hiring Floyd. "I thought Tim was the one guy who could because he had the background with (Don) Haskins. He had recruited underrated players and made them much, much better. He was a great teacher. I'd watch him teach in practice.

"You know what it came down to? I knew him too well. I went fishing with him 10 times and lost my objectivity. I really thought we were going to win again. That's still disappointing to me."

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