Thursday , Dec , 02 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Grizzlies expected to name Fratello head coach

Memphis, TN (Sports Network) – The Memphis Grizzlies have scheduled a news
conference for noon (et) Thursday in which the club is expected to name Mike
Fratello as the new head coach.

Fratello, who has compiled a 572-462 career record in 13 seasons as the head
coach of the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers, takes over following last
week’s sudden resignation of Hubie Brown, who cited he no longer had the
desire or energy to keep coaching.

One of the NBA’s top 20 coaches in terms of career victories, Fratello would
return to the sidelines for the first time since 1999. He has served as an
television analyst since his departure, first with NBC and most recently with
TNT, where he shared the booth with Brown before the latter took over the
Grizzlies in 2002 after a 16-year coaching hiatus.

Much of Fratello’s success came with the Hawks — his first team that he
coached. He coached the Hawks for just three games in 1980 (0-3) and then was
named full-time coach in 1983-89. From there, Fratello compiled a 324-250 with
Atlanta and guided the them to the playoffs on five occasions.

Fratello then turned to the booth, but returned to the pine in 1993 to coach
the Cleveland Cavaliers. In six seasons with the Cavs, Fratello posted a
248-212 mark, but guided the team to the postseason just twice.

After guiding the Grizzlies to a 28-46 record during his first year with the
club after a 16-year absence from the bench, Brown turned Memphis into a
respectable franchise, something Fratello will have to maintain.

The Grizzlies finished with a franchise-best 50-32 mark last season and the
franchise’s first playoff appearance.

Lionel Hollins was named interim head coach after Brown’s resignation and
guided the team for four games — all losses. Memphis will take a 5-11 record
into Friday’s home game against Philadelphia.