Flip Saunders Fired As Washington Wizards' Head Coach

After starting the season 2-15, the Washington Wizards have elected to fire head coach Flip Saunders.

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7 Total Updates since January 24, 2012
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Flip Saunders On Being Fired As Washington Wizards Head Coach: 'It's Disappointing'

Former Washington Wizards coach Flip Saunders gave his first public comments since being fired as the team's head coach earlier Tuesday. In an interview with Michael Lee of the Washington Post, Saunders said the decision was "disappointing," but he fully understands it.

It’s disappointing never being able to finish the job. It’s always disappointing when your won-loss record isn’t there, so changes in this situation are not unusual. It happened this morning.

Saunders did say that he found his situation "challenging" having to develop so many young players at once, considering he was brought in to coach a veteran team. He took responsibility for his poor coaching record but also said it's hard to win and develop players at the same time.

Saunders departs Washington with a 51-150 record in two-plus seasons on the job. The Wizards were 2-15 this season.

For more on Flip Saunders' firing, visit this StoryStream. For more on the Wizards, visit Bullets Forever.

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Flip Saunders Fired: Ernie Grunfeld, Randy Wittman Discuss Wizards' Decision

Washington Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld and interim head coach Randy Wittman spoke to reporters on Tuesday following the team's decision to fire Flip Saunders. In the press conference, Grunfeld said the team's rebuilding plan will not change, but he did think the new coach will need to do a better job taking advantage of the talent on the roster.

"It was cumulative," Grunfeld said about the decision. "Last night, obviously, nobody is happy with, including players and everybody. We all felt it was time for different voice and do some different things to take advantage of the talent on the team."

Speaking about that different voice, Wittman said his top priority is to make sure the players are held accountable for poor effort.

"You have to prove that you deserve to be on the floor and continue to develop," Wittman said. "There becomes a point where if you know you're going to be out there, you'll play however you want to play. We've got to change that."

He also said that he wants to make the team more of an up-tempo squad and challenged star John Wall to accept coaching.

"John's a big part of this. John has the ability i think to be a very, very good player," Wittman said. "John has to now take what he has and not just think it's given to him. He is a talented player that I think I need to coach. He has to be willing to be coached. If he does that, that's where good players become great players."

Grunfeld, meanwhile, continued to reiterate that while things are tough now, the Wizards are following their plan and he expects things to turn around. He said this is a "process most teams go through" and ended his remarks by saying "[the players] are losing right now, but just because you're losing, you're not a loser."

Wittman echoed that optimism, but said change was needed.

"I would have walked with [Saunders] if I didn't believe this team could be better than what we are," he said. "There's got to be change. We've got to change. I'm not the miracle-worker here. We've got to change our outlook on how we play."

(All quotes via CSN Washington's live stream).

For more on Flip Saunders' firing, visit this StoryStream. For more on the Wizards, visit Bullets Forever.

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Flip Saunders Fired As Washington Wizards Head Coach, Team Confirms

The Washington Wizards have made their firing of coach Flip Saunders official, announcing the move via a press release on the team's website. Randy Wittman will replace Saunders as the team's coach on an interim basis. The Wizards have scheduled a press conference for 3 p.m. Tuesday afternoon to discuss the decision.

"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 the press release. "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' 51-130 record in two-plus seasons is the worst in franchise history among coaches with at least 150 games. At 2-15, Washington has fewer wins than any other team in the league.

In the press release, Wittman indicated he would look to make the most of his team's physical skills, saying he will emphasize using "the length, athleticism and versatility of our roster to improve our defense and create opportunities in the open court."

In five seasons as a head coach, Wittman's record stands at 100-207 (.326). He most recently served as a head coach with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2008/09 season, going 4-15 in 19 games before Minnesota dismissed him.

For more on the Wizards, please visit Bullets Forever, SB Nation's Wizards blog.

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Flip Saunders Fired After 'Tempers Flared' In 20-Point Loss, According To Report

The Washington Wizards fired coach Flip Saunders on Tuesday in a move one could hardly characterize a surprise, given their 2-15 record and 0-8 start to the 2011/12 season. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports firing Saunders and replacing him with interim coach Randy Wittman is simply the start of something bigger going on in Washington. Citing sources, Berger says "widespread changes are expected" once the season ends.

In Saunders' last game, a 20-point drubbing against the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night, "tempers flared" as some players expressed displeasure with being benched in the first half, during which Philadelphia ballooned its lead to as high as 30 points. After the game, "players were informed" that Washington would make a coaching change, according to Berger.

Saunders' tenure in Washington ends with a 51-130 record over two-plus seasons. His winning percentage of .282 is the worst in franchise history among coaches with at least 150 games.

For more on the Wizards, please visit Bullets Forever, SB Nation's Wizards blog.

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Flip Saunders Fired, Randy Wittman To Take Over As Washington Wizards' Interim Coach, According To Report

Flip Saunders has been fired as the Washington Wizards' head coach, and lead assistant Randy Wittman will replace him on an interim basis, according to multiple reports. The news was first reported by Ken Berger of CBS Sports and was confirmed by Michael Lee of the Washington Post.

More: On Saunders firing

Wittman takes over with a pretty poor coaching record of his own. He has coached the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves, posting a combined record of 100-207. In his four-plus seasons coaching, he has never won over 32 games. Wittman was most recently the Timberwolves' coach in 2008-09, when he was fired after beginning the season with a 4-15 record.

It remains to be seen if Wittman will be given the job on a permanent basis. He was hired as Saunders' lead assistant when Saunders came to the Wizards in 2009.

For more on Flip Saunders' firing, visit this StoryStream. For more on the Wizards, visit Bullets Forever.

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Flip Saunders Fired As Head Coach Of Washington Wizards, According To Report

After starting the season 2-15, the Washington Wizards have elected to fire head coach Flip Saunders, according to a report.

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