The Chicago Bulls have fired head coach Tom Thibodeau after he failed to bring play-off success to the NBA franchise.
Thibodeau went 255-139 in his tenure as coach, guiding the Bulls to Central Division titles in 2010-11 and 2011-12, but he managed only a 23-28 in record in post-season games.
“When Tom was hired in 2010, he was right for our team and system at that time, and over the last five years we have had some success with Tom as our head coach,” Bulls general manager Gar Forman said.
“But as we looked ahead and evaluated how we as a team and an organization could continue to grow and improve, we believed a change in approach was needed.”
Thibodeau, 57, was named the NBA Coach of the Year in 2011 when he matched the NBA record for rookie coaches with 62 wins.
He was part of a championship squad as an assistant coach with Boston in 2008 and also had assistant’s stints with San Antonio, Minnesota, Philadelphia, New York and Houston over 21 years before landing his first coaching post with the Bulls.
But tensions between Thibodeau and Bulls senior management grew over the years and became more than ownership wanted to tolerate when they were ousted by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference semi-finals earlier this month.
“The Chicago Bulls have a history of achieving great success on and off the court. These accomplishments have been possible because of an organisational culture where input from all parts of the organisation has been welcomed and valued, there has been a willingness to participate in a free flow of information, and there have been clear and consistent goals,” Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said.
“Unfortunately, there has been a departure from this culture. To ensure that the Chicago Bulls can continue to grow and succeed, we have decided that a change in the head coaching position is required.
“Days like today are difficult, but necessary for us to achieve our goals and fulfill our commitments to our fans.”