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Randy Wittman officially gets contract extension from Wizards

Jun 3, 2014, 4:54 PM EDT

Randy Wittman AP

When I recently wrote about Randy Wittman’s strange coaching odyssey, I said of the Wizards coach:

Nobody has coached a team with such a big turnaround that finished with a winning record and not received a Coach of the Year vote in at least the last 14 years. It’s probably been longer, but I can’t find full voting further back.

Thanks to the NBA office, I can now answer that unresolved question. Since the league introduced the award in 1963, four coaches have met that criteria:

  • Rick Adelman (1999 Sacramento Kings)
  • Gregg Popovich (1998 San Antonio Spurs)
  • Bill Fitch (1985 Houston Rockets
  • Tom Nissalke (1979 Houston Rockets)

On the whole, that’s a pretty impressive list of coaches. Apparently Coach of the Year voters don’t always recognize coaching talent – even when a big turnaround and a winning record, common criteria for the award, are staring them in the face.

But maybe it just takes time. Adelman in 1999 and Popovich in 1998 probably weren’t the caliber of coaches they eventually became. If Wittman develops into their class, the Wizards will be very happy.

That’s because Washington, as expected, will bring back Wittman for next season. Wizards release:

Washington Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed head coach Randy Wittman to a contract extension. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We are pleased with the progress the team has made on the court and with the culture we have been able to build with Randy as our head coach,” said Grunfeld. “We will look to continue that momentum with him deservedly leading this group of dedicated and hard-working players.”

“This team and this organization have made significant strides over the last two-and-a-half seasons and I’m excited to be a part of the next step in that process,” said Wittman. “The players and staff all feel that this is the beginning of something special and we’re dedicated to building on our positive accomplishments while striving to improve and reach the next level of success.”

“Randy’s leadership and preparation allowed him to implement and build an unselfish team mentality over the last several seasons where defense comes first and every player is held accountable,” said Wizards majority owner Ted Leonsis. “The result is a Washington Wizards team that proudly represents our fans and our city both on and off the court and has us looking eagerly toward what we can accomplish moving forward.”

The contract is for three years and $9 million, though the final year is not guaranteed, according J. Michael of CSN Washington. That means Wittman will be a lame duck again in 2015-16.

All along the way, Wittman has – deservedly, I’d say – drawn doubters.

But he got the Wizards to believe in him this year.

Now, to keep his job for more than a couple years, he’ll have to do it all over again.

  1. spthegr8 - Jun 3, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    Ted drop’s the ball AGAIN!!!

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 3, 2014 at 5:20 PM

      From 1999 up to the time Wittman was hired, the Wizards winning percentage was .386%

      Randy’s winning percentage with the Wiz is .427%

      Gotta think where the team was at…

      The coach right BEFORE Randy with the Wiz had a .282 winning percentage. One Flip Sanders. Randy’s .427 is great compared to .282

      The coach immediately before Flip had a winning percentage of only .254%

      Also, Randy’s record has a lot to do with coaching for an organization who has a winning percentage of only .386% in the LAST 15 seasons…

      Heck, with THAT track record, Randy is overachieving with that organization…

      Randy sure is doing much better than the organization has in the previous 15 yrs as a whole…

    • sire2334 - Jun 3, 2014 at 5:22 PM

      He’s loyal. He’s also a great human being….BUT, I don’t feel Randy is the right person to lead this team to a championship and ultimately that’s what we’re talking about right? And if this team decided it really wants to make a run, by going after a FA like Love, they would have the pieces to really contend. At the very least battle for the East. I’m not sure Randy can get them there and be consistent. But hey…It’s done and I’m on board so good luck him.

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 3, 2014 at 5:27 PM

      Put it this way… Pop of San Antonio IS a better coach than Randy. Of this there is NO doubt.

      But even Pop, with that organization and the exact same cast of characters would only get several more wins per season than Randy. Coaches don’t affect the outcome of all that many games.

      There are many articles about this from good basketball minds online…

      G.M.’s need to get good players. It’s a PLAYER’S league…

      Talent is King…

  2. loubearkane - Jun 3, 2014 at 5:41 PM

    Can you please change the name back to the Bullets already

    • dablakdrphil - Jun 3, 2014 at 6:49 PM

      I want that to happen to but guys like Gilbert Arenas who brought guns to the arena may be something they’re not ready to do just yet.

  3. yesser12 - Jun 3, 2014 at 5:46 PM

    Well deserved and Wall/Beal combo may make him look like a great coach.

  4. void96eater - Jun 3, 2014 at 6:00 PM

    That thumbnail is priceless.

  5. elcaminobilly - Jun 3, 2014 at 10:21 PM

    I think this is a good move. The Wizards are, in my opinion, a team on the verge of being contenders. If they can stay healthy, and together, they may be the team to challenge the Heat for the East.

  6. unxpexted1 - Jun 4, 2014 at 8:31 AM

    I mean you had to do it because they had a nice lil playoff run and I’m happy that he gets players to commit to D. But offensively they are attrocious at times. So if they bring in somebody that can creat a lil movement offensively that would be great. But seems like a respectable dude, and players seem to respond to him.

    • arrondior - Jun 4, 2014 at 1:30 PM

      One of the reasons their offensive sets aren’t clean is that so many of their players have been out due to injury. I expect them to be much better after a full and healthy off season. The Wizards will seem to explode out of the gate next season with a string of wins. Really its just going to be due to health of the core and actually being able to really practice their playbook as real unit.

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