Summarized by Kent Larsen
Suns Coach Danny Ainge Resigns
Yahoo News (AP) 13Dec99 S2
By Bob Baum: AP Sports Writer
PHOENIX, ARIZONA -- LDS Church member and coach of the NBA's Phoenix
Suns, Danny Ainge, resigned yesterday, shocking the team, its employees
and basketball fans just six weeks into a new NBA season. In a statement
to the press, Ainge said he was leaving to "save my family."
Ainge made the decision last week, and told his top assistant, Scott
Skiles, who will replace him, of the decision on the plane ride home
from Dallas, where the Suns lost Saturday night. "I love coaching, but
anybody can coach," explained Ainge in the statement he made to the
press. "My wife has just one husband and my children have just one
father. Some of you may think I'm jumping ship. I don't believe I'm
jumping ship. I'm diving overboard to save my family."
Team members tried to connect the resignation to the teams performance,
where Ainge had a record of 136-90 over more than three seasons with the
Suns. The current season record was 13-7. "I didn't see it coming," the
Suns' Tom Gugliotta said. "I knew our playing to our potential on the
court was not perfect, but Danny had us working hard. It was a
surprise." But Jason Kidd thought Ainge was getting frustrated with how
the team was playing, "As a coach you kind of get fed up," Kidd said. "I
think he was worn out and tired."
But Ainge says the team's performance doesn't have anything to do with
his resignation, "If we were 17-3, I'd be making the same decision," he
said. "It really comes down to just wanting to make a statement to my
family that they are more important than my career." Ainge has children
ranging in age from 4 to 19. He said one teen-age son recent said he was
becoming too distant, "and I couldn't disagree with him."
Ainge said that the demands on a coach are far higher than those on a
player in the NBA. "I felt like I had a lot of little kid in me when I
played. I feel like that little kid is dead because I haven't been able
to enjoy it. The reason that I haven't been able to enjoy it is the
people I want to share it with aren't sharing it with me, and it's not
as much fun. I just want to share their lives with them. It's that
While Suns owner Jerry Colangelo said he initially wanted to try and
talk Ainge out of resigning, but couldn't dispute Ainge's reasoning. "He
explained the reasons why, and that's pretty powerful," Colangelo said.
Others at the Suns organization were also impressed by his reasons,
"Danny is a unique person and a good friend," said the Suns' Rex
Chapman. "For him to walk away from one of the best jobs in pro sports
for the sake of his family makes a heck of a statement."