January 31, 2012

Randy Wittman to Replace Fired Wizards’ Coach Flip Saunders

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On Jan. 24, the Washington Wizards fired head coach Flip Saunders after the team recorded the worst start in the league, 2-15. Assistant coach Randy Wittman — the previous Minnesota Timberwolves’ head coach and father of former Cornell basketball forward Ryan Wittman ’10 ­— has been named Saunders’ replacement through the end of the season.

Saunders, who was in the third year of a four-year, $18 million contract with the Wizards, coached the team to a 51-130 record. Despite beginning his career with a roster featuring All-Stars Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler, the team’s record has slipped under Saunders.

John Wall, the 2010 No. 1 NBA draft pick, is in his sophomore season with the Wizards. The former Kentucky guard, who played against the Red in the 2010 Sweet 16, has seen his shooting percentage regress since last season — dropping from .409 to .379 from the field. The poor team record and Wall’s underperformance were speculated to be factors contributing to Saunders’ dismissal.

Original Author: Lauren Ritter