MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Hubie Brown said he stepped down as the coach of the Memphis Grizzlies for two reasons: He lost his spirit, and because of medical
issues he wants kept private.
"I need on a daily basis an energy and a stamina, and then with me it's a spirit," Brown said Friday at a news conference. "But the key is spirit.
See, the spirit is what gives you the passion on a daily basis."
"One day you wake up, you don't have that, and that's when you've got to understand that it's a time you've got to walk."
The 71-year-old Brown announced his retirement Thursday night, just seven months after he was selected NBA coach of the year for the second time in
his long career.
Brown led Memphis to a franchise-best 50-32 record last season and its first playoff appearance. He was given medical clearance to return for his
third season with the Grizzlies and had said he had no hesitation coming back.
But he announced his retirement a day after the Grizzlies fell to 5-7 with a 93-84 loss to the Seattle SuperSonics. Brown is 424-495 in the NBA and
528-559 including ABA games.
"We're going to miss this man tremendously, and more importantly, I think his footprints here ... will be hard to fill," Grizzlies president Jerry
Lionel Hollins was named the team's interim coach and was with the team in Minneapolis for its game Friday night against the Timberwolves.
Brown said his medical problem developed about three weeks ago.
"People are thinking catastrophic levels. ... We're not talking about that," Brown said, declining to be more specific. "I've had things come up that
your body gives you a warning sign."
Brown, who led the Kentucky Colonels to the ABA championship in 1975, returned to coaching in 2002 after a 16-year break during which he became a TV
analyst. He also coached the Atlanta Hawks from 1976-81 and the New York Knicks from 1982-86.
At every stop, Brown's teams won more games in his first full season than in the previous year.
Brown leaves as the winningest coach in Memphis history with an 83-85 record.
His departure news conference lasted 50 minutes as Brown praised the fans, West, and his players. He told his team of his decision before they left
"I told them you have regrets when you do this. My biggest regret is that I didn't meet them when I was in my 40s and 50s because I had more to give
than I do now because I was more alert, more astute, more observant and I saw more," Brown said, "and I apologized to them because I met them too late
in my life."