Longtime Washington Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld was dismissed on Tuesday in the wake of the franchise’s subpar season, team chairman Ted Leonsis said.
Grunfeld, 63, was concluding his 16th season with the franchise and the team holds a disappointing 32-46 record with four games remaining. He was hired prior to the 2003-04 season.
“We did not meet our stated goals of qualifying for the playoffs this season and, despite playing with injuries to several key players, we have a culture of accountability and a responsibility of managing to positive outcomes,” Leonsis said in a statement. “I wish to thank Ernie for his service to the Washington Wizards. He and his family have been great leaders in our community and have worked tirelessly to make us a top NBA franchise.”
The biggest blow to the Wizards was a season-ending heel injury to five-time All-Star John Wall. The point guard was limited to 32 games.
The Wizards had a 568-724 record during Grunfeld’s tenure with eight playoff appearances.
Senior vice president of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard will run the franchise while the team conducts a search to replace Grunfeld. The team said Sheppard will be a candidate for the permanent post.
Grunfeld averaged 7.4 points and 2.6 rebounds in 693 NBA games from 1977-86 with the Milwaukee Bucks, Kansas City Kings and New York Knicks. He was the 11th overall pick of the 1977 draft by Milwaukee after being a college star at Tennessee, where he teamed with future Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame member Bernard King.
Grunfeld also won a gold medal in the 1976 Olympics as a member of Team USA.
—Field Level Media