Coach to leave helm due to personal reasons

(Bakersfield, Calif., Dec. 28, 2007) – The Bakersfield Jam, members of the NBA Development League, today announced that head coach Jim Harrick will be stepping down effective following the December 29 game versus the Los Angeles D-Fenders due to personal reasons. Assistant coach Sean Rooks will serve as the interim head coach as the team begins a search for a permanent replacement.

“It is with great sorrow that I relieve myself of coaching duties with the Bakersfield Jam,” said Harrick. “I’d like to thank the ownership group and entire organization for the opportunity to help bring such a high level of basketball to the people of Kern County. Despite our slow start this season, I am confident the team is heading in the right direction and my only regret is not finishing the job I started.”

“On behalf of the entire organization, I’d like to wish Coach Harrick the best of luck in fulfilling his personal and family obligations,” said Jam majority owner Stan Ellis. “We’re sad to see a man with such a great coaching pedigree and ambassador to the sport leave the Jam. Of course, we respect his decision and will provide any support he needs throughout his future endeavors.”

The Jam have already begun a search for Harrick’s replacement and have multiple candidates in place. Rooks, who began the season as the assistant to Harrick, will also receive consideration as a candidate. Harrick has agreed to assist the team in their search in any way needed.

“While it will be difficult to replace a basketball mind like Coach’s (Harrick), we are committed to doing whatever it takes to put together a winning team and are confident whoever is named as the second coach in our team’s short history will be a step in the right direction,” said Michael Hirsch, team president of the Bakersfield Jam. “Our affiliation with the NBA opens a lot of doors for us to reach out to potential candidates.”

The Jam do not have a specific timeline to name a replacement, as Hirsch indicated they will make the hire when the right person is found. Also, the organization, on behalf of Harrick, requests that any inquiries regarding Harrick’s decision are directed to the team and are specific to the process of finding a new head coach and respect Harrick’s personal privacy.

The NBA Development League is the NBA's official minor league, and the first-ever basketball league with direct affiliations to NBA teams. Now in its seventh season the D-League’s goals are to provide affordable, NBA-caliber entertainment to fans of its 14 teams, as well as continue to develop players, coaches, referees and front-office personnel for the NBA. As the single source for in-season player "call-ups" to the NBA, fans of the D-League enjoy the highest caliber of basketball played outside the NBA. In fact, former D-League players represented 10 percent of NBA players on 2007-08 opening day rosters, numbering 44 in total. In addition, the D-League has produced 25 percent of current NBA referees and 16 current NBA coaches, including head coach Sam Vincent with the Charlotte Bobcats. The D-League is an innovative and rapidly growing sports property that also serves as an experimental testing ground for new initiatives of the NBA and its teams, provides continuing education and professional development resources for its players, and is committed to serving its local communities through D-LEAGUE CARES and grassroots efforts.