Front Office to Name Gentry's Replacement
On Friday morning, the Phoenix Suns parted ways with Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry. After nine seasons coaching in Phoenix and a tenure spanning five seasons as the franchise’s head coach, the organization will be replacing Gentry with a yet unnamed interim coach.
“Alvin Gentry is a good coach and a good person,” Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby said. “He was the perfect coach for the previous group.
“But with our current group, all of us, including Alvin himself, realized that it was just not working and the pieces were just not fitting. To be fair and to be sure, integrating nine new players was a challenge.”
After suffering a 98-94 loss to the Bucks last night, Gentry met with Babby and Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver into the early morning. After a follow-up meeting Friday morning, both sides agreed to go in different directions.
“The decision for Alvin and us to part ways is not a reflection on the quality of him as a coach,” Babby said. “He’s a good coach and better person.
“It’s just that at this time, and this place, at this moment, with this group, it was obviously wasn’t working. And I think we all agreed that it was best to try something different and move on from his perspective and from our perspective.”
Gentry was named Phoenix’s interim head coach in February of 2009 after the dismissal of former Suns Head Coach Terry Porter. He was eventually named the 14th head coach in franchise history on May 9, 2009.
In his tenure as head coach of the Suns, Gentry compiled a 158-144 (.523) record, earning one playoff appearance and a trip to the 2010 Western Conference Finals. However, the Suns currently have a 13-28 record at the midway point this season.
“But it wasn’t about wins and losses, it’s just about a feel of the group as a whole and whether we were progressing,” Babby said.
The Suns’ President of Basketball Operations said that while the team plans to continue to focus on winning more games - as a team in transition - there may be a greater emphasis on player development moving forward. Although Gentry’s successor hasn’t been named yet, the Suns’ front office will make that decision in the next 24-48 hours.
The interim head coach will be chosen from a pool of candidates from within the organization. Babby said that the new head coach will determine who will remain on the Suns’ coaching staff.
“I want us to progress culturally and begin to see modest or substantial growth in our young players - not to say they haven’t,” Babby said. “I want that to continue.
“I want us to play hard every night, which for the most part, we’ve done. I’d like us to be disciplined, I’d like us to execute and I think progress is something that if you see it, you’ll know. And I want us to feel good about moving forward.”
Babby believes that the organization is “well-poised” for the future, pointing to good draft choices this upcoming draft and in the future.
“Transitions aren’t easy and we know we’re in the midst of one so to our front office and players I want to say, ‘We believe in each of you,’” the Suns President of Basketball Operations said. “But we are all accountable and we all need to do better.
“A new coach will not be a magic elixir. Only hard work and perseverance will move us forward. To our fans, while I want to say it’s a difficult time, I want to say that the future is bright and that we are poised for success and we are dedicated to competing as hard as we can and improving every day.”
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