has some video from today’s press conference announcing the firing of Randy Wittman and the naming of Kevin McHale as his replacement.
Taylor said McHale’s reassignment wouldn’t result in any other immediate changes to the team’s front office.
The Wolves have been grooming assistant general manager Fred Hoiberg as McHale’s successor, but Taylor said he would continue in his current role through this season, as will general manager Jim Stack and assistant general manager Rob Babcock.
Taylor added that McHale will continue to answer directly to him, but his role will be that of a coach going forward and there are no plans for him to return to the front office.
Asked who would make the call if some team called with a trade offer, Taylor said, “Jim Stack.”
“I didn’t offer him an interim (job),” Taylor said. “I just offered him the coaching job. … I’m very aware of the alternatives I had. I just felt like this is the best alternative for us to have a successful season. Kevin’s my first choice, and I’m glad that he accepted.”
McHale said if he had turned down Taylor’s offer, he would’ve “hired someone else.” But Taylor’s bluntness, and McHale’s well-documented personnel blunders over the years, left little doubt: This was a demotion McHale was in no position to turn down.
When asked why he decided McHale was the best choice to take over for Wittman, who was 38-105 since taking over for Dwane Casey in January 2007, Taylor didn’t exactly give McHale a ringing endorsement.
“Mostly that has to do with just the timing,” Taylor said. “We’re in the middle of a season, we’ve laid out a plan, and a lot of that plan has to do with Kevin’s direction anyway. He’s selected most of the players and he’s worked with Randy in setting up the plan…”
The job is not an interim one. McHale said he “plans on being here” for the long term and general manager Jim Stack and assistant GMs Fred Hoiberg and Rob Babcock will take over his executive duties for the remainder of the season.
Now it’s up to McHale to breathe some life into a team that wasn’t responding to the hard-nosed Wittman.
“It just looks like the guys are very beaten down,” McHale said. “They’ve only played 19 games this season. They have 63 games left. It’s no time to be beaten down. There’s still time to rally and get going.’
“I put the guys together. The responsibility falls on me, if it doesn’t work it will be on me,” McHale said. “The plan remains the same, we have a lot of cap room, we have multiple picks, and nothing is going to change. The only change is I’m going to spend all my time coaching. For me, I thought I would jump in with both feet with this.”
The Wolves are off to a rough start to the 2008-09 season with a 4-15 record that started with promise after a thrilling opening night victory against the Kings. However, the lack of improvement led to the dismissal of head coach Randy Wittman on Monday after compiling a 38-105 mark in two years with the team…The struggles are evident with a five-game losing streak including a 23-point loss to the Clippers. An exchange between McHale and owner Glen Taylor would follow the defeat on Saturday night.
“Glen looked at me and said that was an unacceptable performance, effort wise.” I said it’s hard to argue against that. First of all, we have to rehabilitate the effort but I think we can do that pretty easily. Then we have to get our guys playing confidently, getting out there and playing the style of ball that fits them,” McHale said.