I will begin answering your questions by prefacing that I am a fan of Danny Barret, and think that he is a class individual and a good coach, but personally I would have fired him possibly after 2004, but definately I would have let him go after the 2005 season.
The decision by Hopson and the board of Directors to make both him and Shivers lameducks for 2006 was both wrong and gutless.
Either fire them or renew their contracts, but lameducks...ouch.
On to your questions.
Obviously, any coach will have his supporters and his detractors. Danny is no different.
When you are dealing with a class individual like Barret, you are going to have strong support. He is simply a tough guy not to like.
And despite not taking us to the next level, he has done a very good job. After the abyss the Riders were in in 1998 and 99, it was very refreshing to see the steady improvement that came with Shivers and Barret.
The team was nearly bankrupt in 1999 and devoid of hope and talent.
That all changed in 2000.
And while we haven't won a Cup, we have made the play-offs 5 years in a row and been to 3 West finals.
And we can all see the talent/potential in the team.
The Riders need to go back 30 years to see that kind of success.
So stating Barret has failed is far from an accurate description.
So now, does it really matter if Tillman fires Danny or if Danny resigns?
Either way, he will be gone. And I predict he will not be unemployed for long.
Because he is a good coach and a good person.
The reason it has all been such a controversy this year, is because of the way Shivers was treated.
When he was fired midseason (another error and a gutless move by Hopson) then the focus went onto Danny.
A lot of people who maybe felt there needed to be changes made, rallied to Danny and want to see him get a chance under a new GM. Those people recognize that Danny is a quality guy and think that the problem was Roy.
So add them to the group who already backed DB, and that becomes a lot of support.
Now, to add some perspective, when Higgins was fired, that was a mistake.
We aren't really sure what happened to Don Mathews, but usually he just packs his bags and leaves, not fired.
Firing coaches is one of the most overrated and misused techniques in sports.
Coaches aren't good coaches one day, and they wake up the next day and can't coach.
There are only two legitimate reasons to dump a coach (and none midseason).
One is if the players stop playing for him.
And that is not the case here.
The other is complacency.
And that is why I think Danny should have been fired last year, and why he should go this year.
Actually, given the turmoil created by the Shivers fiasco, I think Danny may have had his best year as coach this year.
But it is time. Teams hit the wall. They get too comfortable.
My best example is the Ottawa Sens. Everybody thinks Jaques Martin is one of the elite coaches in the NHL. And the Sens became a powerhouse under his tutelage.
But he couldn't get them over the hump.
So finally, he was fired. They gave him 9 years.
Of course the result is, they hired that bum Brian Murray and where are they now?
Anyway, I digress...
The fact is, Danny has done a good job, he has been a good coach and people like him.
So firing him will be controversial. Keeping him will be controversial.
But as with the Sens, be careful what you wish for....
Hopefully that helps?