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The Memphis Grizzlies fired coach Mike Fratello on Thursday after an NBA-worst 6-24 start.
The Grizzlies’ career winningest coach, Fratello had a 95-83 record and had guided Memphis to consecutive playoff appearances. Tony Barone Sr., the Grizzlies’ director of player personnel, was selected to be the interim coach.
Fratello left his television career to take over the Grizzlies after Brown retired for health reasons. He had coached the Atlanta Hawks for eight seasons — where he was the NBA coach of the year in 1986 and the Cleveland Cavaliers for six yearsÂ before going into broadcasting.
He ranked 19th on the NBA’s career wins list and 21st in games coached when he joined the Grizzlies. On March 4, 2005, he became the 19th coach to win 600 games.
Memphis had lost 11 of 16 to start the 2004-05 season but finished Fratello’s first season with 45 victories. He couldn’t repeat that success this year.
“I am sorry I have not been able to find a way up to this point to turn things around, and I understand why a change needs to be made,” Fratello said. “Things will get better with both an abundance of home games coming up and the eventual return of Lawrence Roberts and Kyle Lowry from their injuries.”