Wizards fire Flip Saunders

Wizards fire Flip Saunders
January 24, 2012, 4:41 pm
Share This Post

The Wizards' rebuild will go on without coach Flip Saunders, who was fired today, the club announced.

Assistant coach Randy Wittman will take over as interim head coach.

"We felt the team had become unresponsive, and we will look to Randy to provide a different voice and a change in philosophy moving forward," Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld said in a statement. "We have been transparent in how we would evaluate our team this season, and we were disappointed in the lack of development of our players at this point in our rebuilding plan."

Saunders had been coach of the Wizards since the start of the 2009-10 season, going 51-130 in that span, including a 2-15 start this season.

The Wizards were blown out by Philadelphia, 103-83, Monday night.

After a loss to the Timberwolves earlier this month, Saunders bemoaned how he couldn't get the Wizards to play better.

"I haven't done a good enough job," he said. "We're not getting totally through to guys, and some guys continue to play the way they want to play and not the way we need them to play as a team."

Saunders previously coached Minnesota and Detroit. His overall record in 16 NBA seasons is 638-526. Before coming to Washington, Saunders had taken 11 teams to the playoffs, advancing to the conference finals four times.

Wittman gets his third job as an NBA head coach, after going 100-207 with Minnesota and Cleveland. Wittman was drafted by Washington with the 22nd overall pick in the 1983 draft. "We have struggled as a team at times this season, but we have also seen a great deal of potential from our young players and glimpses of what we can accomplish together as a team," Wittman said. "The coaching staff will look to build on that by utilizing the length, athleticism and versatility of our roster to improve our defense and create more opportunities in the open court."The Associated Press contributed to this article.