OKC Thunder Fires Head Coach

Saturday, November 22nd 2008, 10:05 am
By: News 9

Staff and Wire Reports

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma City Thunder fired head coach P.J. Carelsimo Saturday morning, following the team's 10th consecutive loss of the season.

Carlesimo has led the team to the unimpressive 1-12 record so far this season, including Friday night's 25-point loss against the Hornets.

Assistant Paul Westhead was also relieved of his duties. Assistant Scott Brooks was appointed interim coach Saturday.

"This was a very difficult decision to make," general manager Sam Presti said in a statement. "It is one that I felt was necessary at this time. I am very appreciative of the hard work and effort that P.J. gave to this team and we wish him the best in his future endeavors."

To hear more from GM Sam Presti, and how this decision will impact the team, click here.

The Thunder relocated from Seattle in the offseason after a franchise-worst 20-win season to start Carlesimo's run. Carlesimo was 21-74 in just more than one season with the franchise.
Oklahoma City faces the Hornets again Saturday night in New Orleans.

The Thunder also fired assistant coach Paul Westhead, who led the Phoenix Mercury to the 2007 WNBA title. He also had successful stay at Loyola Marymount in a coaching career that spanned more than 30 years.

Brooks played on the Houston Rockets' 1994 NBA championship team during his 11-year career. He bounced around with seven teams before becoming a Denver Nuggets assistant in 2003. Brooks also worked for the Sacramento Kings before coming to Seattle last season on Carlesimo's staff.

This marks the second time Carlesimo has been fired early in a season. He took the Portland Trail Blazers to three straight playoff appearances in the 1990s before moving to Golden State. His time there was marked by the Latrell Sprewell choking episode during his first season with the team. He was fired after a 6-21 start in 2000, his third season.

He got another chance after serving as an assistant on three NBA championship teams with the San Antonio Spurs, who Thunder owner Clay Bennett once represented on the Board of Governors.