O’Neill dismissed as coach of the Raptors
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) – The Toronto Raptors announced Friday that
Kevin O’Neill has been dismissed as head coach of the club.
Toronto posted just a 33-49 record in 2003-04 and failed to qualify for the
playoffs in O’Neill’s first campaign with the team. He took over for Lenny
Wilkens in June of 2003.
“This season fell well short of our expectations, and while the blame for that
certainly does not rest on Kevin O’Neill and his staff alone, we felt that the
team’s lack of success on the court, and the fact that we are committed to
providing the general manager with every opportunity to succeed, necessitated
this change,” said interim general manager Jack McCloskey.
O’Neill, who had one year remaining on a two-year contract, joined the Raptors
after serving as an assistant coach with both the New York Knicks and the
Detroit Pistons. It marked his first coaching experience in the NBA after
college stints with Northwestern, Tennessee and Marquette.
In addition, assistants Tony Brown, Bob Beyer, Jim Sann and Ron Oliver were
also relieved of their duties.
“This franchise has everything required to build a team capable of contending
for an NBA championship,” McCloskey added. “We have a core group of talented
players, committed ownership, terrific fans that support our team win or lose,
and a great arena in a great city. There has been considerable interest in our
general manager’s position from the type of quality candidates that you want.
We’re going to bring in an outstanding general manager and a coaching staff
that is going to get this team back in the direction that it was two years
ago. I’m very excited about the future for the Toronto Raptors.”