View Full Version : Sixers fire Coach Randy Ayers

02-10-2004, 10:51 AM
Crazy. The coaching carousel just won't stop in the East.

ESPN.com news services
The Philadelphia 76ers, who have lost eight of their last 10 en route to a 21-31 first-half record, fired coach Randy Ayers on Tuesday, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reports.

Assistant coach Chris Ford will take over as 76ers coach, Smith has learned. Ford has previously been head coach of the Celtics, Bucks and Clippers.

Ayers was promoted from assistant in June to replace Larry Brown, who left the team after six seasons to become coach of the Detroit Pistons.

The former head coach at Ohio State, Ayers spent six seasons as Brown's assistant.

Ayers had not been the Sixers first choice as successor to Brown, who led the Sixers to the NBA Finals two season ago. Team president Billy King initially tried to get permission to speak to Portland coach Maurice Cheeks, a former 76ers' star.

Also, former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy and Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said they weren't interested in the job after speaking to King. Van Gundy took over in Houston, replacing Rudy Tomjanovich.

King also interviewed former New Jersey Nets assistant Eddie Jordan, former Atlanta coach Mike Fratello, Hawks interim coach Terry Stotts, 76ers assistant Mike Woodson and Miami Heat assistant Bob McAdoo.

After the Sixers suffered an embarrassing 110-80 loss at home against the Boston Celtics on Feb. 7, Ayers said he would consider changing the lineup.

But the following night, against the New Jersey Nets, the starting five remained the same: Allen Iverson and Eric Snow at guard, Glenn Robinson and Kenny Thomas at forward, and Samuel Dalembert at center. The Sixers lost 99-87.

Iverson, who leads the league in points and steals per game, lashed out at the team for a lack of heart following the team's 93-80 loss to the Raptors on Feb. 4.

"We're not playing with no heart. We're not playing with no pride. Nobody out there is taking a challenge like they should, and it's sad," Iverson told the Philadelphia Inquirer after the loss. "We've been a good team for six years. Then this year, we don't have a sense of urgency. We see that we're down in the standings, not in the playoffs right now, trying to fight uphill, and we're not taking the challenge."

However, the All-Star guard refused to place blame on Ayers.

"We have a lot of trust in Randy's ability," he told the paper. "We believe he can get it done. I believe in him. I know he can coach. But I mean, you can't put that on a coach. He doesn't go out there and play, not one minute of the game. He can only do so much."

Ford, 54, who joined the Sixers as an assistant bench coach at the beginning of this season, ranks among the top-50 winningest coaches in NBA history with 311 career victories.

Ford has collected three NBA championship rings in his 26-years of NBA experience -- one as a player with the Celtics in 1981, and two as an assistant coach in Boston, in 1984 and 1986.

Ford served as the head coach at Brandeis University in the two seasons prior to becoming an assistant coach in Philadelphia.

Ford has strong ties to the Philadelphia area. A native of Atlantic City, N.J., he attended Holy Spirit High School in Absecon, N.J., and went on to play at Villanova University from 1968-72, where he helped the Wildcats reach the 1971 NCAA championship game against UCLA.

Ayers went 124-108 as coach of the Buckeyes for eight years. He led Ohio State to four postseason appearances and was the AP Coach of the Year in 1991 after the Buckeyes went 27-4 and won the first of consecutive Big Ten championships.

His stay at Ohio State ended with four consecutive losing seasons and off-court troubles. As a result of 17 rules violations, the Buckeyes were put on probation by the NCAA.

Only15 of the 33 players Ayers brought into the basketball program exhausted their eligibility. And many got into trouble with the law.

After Ayers was fired by the Buckeyes, five of his recruits were dismissed or left the program with the approval of his successor, Jim O'Brien.

Stephen A. Smith is a NBA analyst for ESPN and covers the NBA for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

ESPN.com Link (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=1731658)

02-10-2004, 12:37 PM
how many more assistant coaches can they turn to?

02-10-2004, 12:53 PM
That didn't take long.

Jim O'Brien, Byron Scott, and Doc Rivers are going to be awfully busy this summer interviewing for all of these jobs.

02-10-2004, 12:57 PM
Originally posted by: ddh33
That didn't take long.

Jim O'Brien, Byron Scott, and Doc Rivers are going to be awfully busy this summer interviewing for all of these jobs.

frequent flyer miles will be stacking up.

02-11-2004, 07:43 AM
Gosh, they didn't consult Allen?

Too funny that he wants to be involved in team management decisions, when in the past he couldn't be counted on to show up for practice.

Iverson Seeks Say After 76ers Fire Coach

Published: February 11, 2004

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 10 (AP) Randy Ayers lost his job after less than a season as the Philadelphia 76ers' coach. If the team does not turn things around, others may be on their way out, too.

And the star guard Allen Iverson would like to have some say in the matter.

The 76ers fired Ayers on Tuesday with the team 21-31 and one and a half games behind the Boston Celtics for the Eastern Conference's final playoff berth. Chris Ford, an assistant coach, took over on an interim basis. The 76ers have one game, on Wednesday against Washington, before the All-Star Game break.

"Some things I was looking at, I just was not comfortable with," General Manager Billy King said. "We're going to be aggressive and see if we can do something to change the roster. We still expect every player to play hard, be professional and play the right way."

King is willing to make trades that could help the 76ers make the playoffs, he said. The deadline for deals is Feb. 19. King thinks that some players have not put forth a full effort every game, something Iverson said recently.

Iverson was surprised and upset by Ayers's firing. He said he would have liked to have heard the news from King first. Now Iverson, the N.B.A.'s leading scorer (27.5-point average), wants to have a say in whatever changes may come next.

"Just being called the franchise player, for being here as long as I've been here, I definitely feel like someone should have said something," said Iverson, the league's most valuable player in the 2000-1 season. "I feel like I'm supposed to be involved with a lot of stuff."

He added, "I've earned the right to know some of the things that are going on."

Iverson, in his eighth season, agreed with King that a shake-up might be needed, but he said he wanted finish his career with the team he led to the 2001 N.B.A. finals under Coach Larry Brown. Ayers became the Sixers' head coach when Brown resigned after last season. Brown now coaches the Detroit Pistons.

All but one of the Eastern Conference's 15 teams (Atlanta, with Terry Stotts) has changed coaches since the end of last season.

Now the 76ers have done it twice in that time, and they are asking Ford to reach the postseason. "It's not going to be easy," he said. "With everyone doing their job, hopefully we'll have a chance."

Ford put his stamp on the team by publicly admonishing forward Glenn Robinson over complaints about playing time, a tactic Ayers never used. "What Glenn did was not the right way of doing things," Ford said.

He joined the 76ers' staff last summer after two seasons as the coach at Brandeis. Ford led the Boston Celtics to division titles in 1991 and 1992, and he also coached the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Clippers, going 311-358 in a total of nine seasons.

His best season was his first, when the Celtics went 56-26 and reached the second round of the playoffs. Ford won N.B.A. championships with the Celtics as a player (1981) and as an assistant coach (1984 and 1986).