posted on Apr, 18 2004 @ 07:52 AM
Kevin O'Neill has been fired as coach of the
Toronto Raptors, the NBA team have announced. In his first year in charge, O'Neill guided the Raptors to 10th place in the Eastern conference outside
the playoff places.Kevin O'Neill capped his era with the Toronto Raptors on Friday much the way he had carried himself all season with plenty of
humour and no apologies.
The Raptors fired O'Neill on Friday, a day after the rookie head coach publicly lambasted the NBA team. O'Neill didn't go so far as to say he was
sorry for his outburst but said some of his comments were made out of frustration.Toronto interim manager Jack McCloskey said: "This season fell well
short of our expectations. "While the blame for that certainly does not rest on O'Neill and his staff alone, we need a change." O'Neill had criticised
the franchise and its players on Thursday, saying the "focus is not on winning all the time." Toronto, who reached the Eastern conference finals in
2001, fired general manager Glen Grunwald earlier this month. O'Neill's four assistant coaches have also been dismissed.The Raptors decided against
the high-priced glitzy NBA resume when they hired O'Neill. He had never been an NBA head coach, but had stints as an assistant with the New York
Knicks and Detroit Pistons.O'Neill, a native of Chateauguay, N.Y., held NCAA head coaching spots with Northwestern, Tennessee and Marquette. He
graduated from Montreal's McGill University in 1979, and played for the McGill Redmen basketball team during the late '70s.