OKLAHOMA CITY (Sporting Alert) — The Oklahoma City Thunder have fired head coach Scott Brooks, the club announced on Wednesday afternoon.
Former Oklahoma City point guard Kevin Ollie, who is the current head coach of the Connecticut Huskies, had been strongly linked to the job, but he was quick to tell reporters that he had no plans to depart UConn, after signing a $15 million, five-year extension with the institution last May.
“As I have said many times, I am proud and honored to be the head basketball coach at the University of Connecticut and I have no plans to pursue other opportunities,” Courant.com quoted the coach saying.
“We are already excited about next season and I am looking forward to preparing our team to be the best we can be on the court, in the classroom, and in our community.”
Brooks, who guided the Thunder to three Western Conference finals (2011, 2012, 2014) in seven seasons and a trip to the 2012 Finals, has a .620 winning percentage as a head coach, but his team missed the playoffs this season, which is the first in five seasons.
It has been reported by Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski that “Thunder GM Sam Presti traveled to meet Scott Brooks in California today and delivered the news.”
Wojnarowski was the first person to report the news on Wednesday.
Presti’s decision wasn’t a reflection of the job Brooks did this season, but ultimately a long-view for the franchise, sources tell Yahoo.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) April 22, 2015
He had a 338-207 overall record in his seven seasons with the Thunder.
“This is an extremely difficult decision on many levels. Scott helped establish the identity of the Thunder and has earned his rightful place in the history of our organization through his seven years as a valued leader and team member,” said Presti, Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager.
“As we all know, this past year we had unique and challenging circumstances and as I have conveyed, not many people could have accomplished what Scott and this team were able to.
“Therefore, it is very important to state that this decision is not a reflection of this past season, but rather an assessment of what we feel is necessary at this point in time in order to continually evolve, progress and sustain.
“We determined that, in order to stimulate progress and put ourselves in the best position next season and as we looked to the future, a transition of this kind was necessary for the program.
“We move forward with confidence in our foundation and embrace the persistence and responsibility that is required to construct an elite and enduring basketball organization capable of winning an NBA championship in Oklahoma City.”
According to ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo: “Brooks: 620 win pct best all-time among coaches never to win title (min. 500 games)”
Wojnarowski also reports earlier that Florida Gators coach Billy Donovan, who has been linked with a number of jobs out there, is another man high on the Thunder wish list.