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DiLeo out as 76ers head coach

Posted May 11 2009 10:41PM

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Philadelphia 76ers interim coach Tony DiLeo has withdrawn his name from consideration for the permanent coaching job.

Sixers general manager Ed Stefanski said DiLeo decided Monday to return to his old job in the front office, citing family reasons. DiLeo has two sons -- T.J., a freshman who plays for Temple's basketball team, and Max, a sophomore in high school.

"A coaching job in the NBA is 24-7," Stefanski said. "He felt it was a good move on his part."

Stefanski said the search for a replacement will begin immediately.

Some possible names include TV analyst and former coach Doug Collins, a former Sixers guard; former Dallas Mavericks coach Avery Johnson, and former Washington Wizards coach Eddie Jordan.

"I have not contacted one person in the NBA, outside the NBA or anywhere to be the coach of the Sixers," Stefanski said. "No one has contacted me yet."

DiLeo replaced Maurice Cheeks after the Sixers stumbled to a 9-14 start. They went 32-27 under DiLeo and earned a playoff spot.

Despite the improvement under DiLeo, the 76ers looked lethargic late in the year before getting bounced from the playoffs by the Orlando Magic in the first round. It was the second straight year the Sixers lost in six games in the opening round. Philadelphia still has not won a playoff series since 2003.

After this playoffs, some team members offered only lukewarm endorsements of DiLeo, most notably Andre Iguodala and Theo Ratliff.

"That was the heat of the moment," Stefanski said. "That's why you have exit meetings and interviews. Emotions run high. I talked to Andre and he said he doesn't have a problem with Tony. He was just upset with the way he played."

Stefanski says DiLeo will go back to his former job as a senior vice president and assistant general manager. DiLeo will have input on the process of hiring the next coach.

"This will be wide open," Stefanski said. "I'll lean on our personnel people here."

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