Wednesday, May 19, 2004
By Andy Katz
The Golden State Warriors fired head coach Eric Musselman on Wednesday night and have targeted Stanford coach Mike Montgomery as his replacement, league sources told ESPN.com on Wednesday.
"It's been a great two years. The players have played their hearts out," Musselman told the AP in a cell phone interview Wednesday night. "The organization's headed in great direction."
A source close to Montgomery confirmed for ESPN.com that there are ongoing negotiations between Montgomery's representatives and the Warriors on a four-year, multimillion-dollar deal.
If negotiations go well, Montgomery, 57, could be named Warriors coach by Friday.
Musselman, 39, told the AP that he learned his fate at 7:15 p.m. PT from Warriors' executive vice president of basketball operations Chris Mullin. Reached earlier in the evening in Florida by ESPN.com, Musselman said that he hadn't talked to Mullin in two weeks and that Mullin had been non-committal on his and his staff's status.
Musselman, who had one year remaining on his contract, went 75-89 in two seasons with the Warriors, his first NBA head coaching job. He finished second in the league's Coach of the Year voting in 2002-03 after guiding Golden State to a 38-44 record.
Musselman told ESPN.com that hiring Montgomery would make sense since, to his knowledge, the Warriors hadn't been talking to anyone within the NBA about replacing him. It would be a bold hire for Mullin, given the relative lack of success for coaches making the jump from college to the NBA; however, Montgomery is regarded as one of the college game's foremost X's-and-O's men.
Sources told ESPN.com that Stanford athletic director Ted Leland was called out of a Pac-10 properties meeting in Los Angeles and left abruptly, saying he had to return to campus to deal with pressing issues. Calls to Stanford were not returned Wednesday. Stanford's coaches, including Montgomery, were instructing players individually Wednesday on campus.