Source: Chris Ford interviewed for 76ers job

May 22, 2009 12:59:29 PM PDT
Chris Ford, a pro scout with the Philadelphia 76ers who was interim coach five years ago, has interviewed for the team's head coaching job. A person with knowledge of the interview said Friday that Ford was one of two candidates team president Ed Stefanski did not announce publicly. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Ford's interview was not disclosed.

Stefanski also did not say he had talked to Villanova coach Jay Wright, who acknowledged the interview but withdrew from consideration on Friday.

Ford has head coaching experience with the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Clippers and 76ers. His longest stint was five seasons with the Celtics from 1990-95, where he compiled a 222-188 record, his shortest run a 12-18 mark as interim coach of the Sixers in 2003-04. Ford played 10 seasons in the NBA with the Celtics and Detroit Pistons and was a member of the Boston's 1981 championship team.

The team announced four other candidates interviewed: Former Washington Wizards coach Eddie Jordan, Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau, Los Angeles Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis, and Dallas Mavericks assistant Dwane Casey.

Stefanski said in a statement on Friday that he has no timetable set to make a hire. He said all of the candidates are "exceptionally qualified, have an impressive knowledge of the game and are very well-respected within the basketball community."

"Along with my staff, we will continue our due diligence - including further interviews, extensive research and in-depth background checks - before a final selection is made," Stefanski said.

Stefanski is getting his first real opportunity to hire a coach since he took over as president and general manager in December 2007.

He inherited Maurice Cheeks, then gave him an extension after Cheeks led the Sixers to the playoffs in 2008. Stefanski fired Cheeks in December 2008 and replaced him with front office veteran Tony DiLeo.

The team finished 32-27 under DiLeo and 41-41 overall, but the Sixers were ousted in the first round of the playoffs in six games by the Orlando Magic.

When DiLeo announced after the season ended that he would return to the front office, Stefanski was faced with his biggest decision in Philly yet.

On Friday he reiterated the type ofcoach he is seeking.

"As I have said before, the qualities I am looking for in our next head coach include excellent communication and leadership skills, will stress the importance of accountability while also developing our players and will be a strong tactician," Stefanski said.

Wright said Stefanski is a longtime friend and the two talk often, so he was flattered when Stefanski approached him about the Sixers job.

"We had a lively conversation about the vision Ed has for the Sixers organization," Wright said. "As a lifelong Sixers fan, I was honored to be part of the process."

Wright said the Sixers are on the way up under Stefanski's leadership, but said, "I love Villanova and it is where I want to be."

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