December 3, 2008 / 10:59 PM / 9 years ago

Raptors fire coach Mitchell after rout by Nuggets

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Raptors fired head coach Sam Mitchell on Wednesday, the day after the team suffered one of its biggest defeats.

<p>Toronto Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell reacts to an NBA official's call during the second half of their NBA game against the Detroit Pistons in Auburn Hills, Michigan January 15, 2008. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook</p>

Assistant Jay Triano, formerly in charge of Canada, was appointed interim coach.

“This is a difficult but necessary step the franchise must take,” said president and general manager Bryan Colangelo in a statement.

“We appreciate all Sam has done for the organization, applaud him for his successes and wish him nothing but the best with his future in basketball.”

The decision came less than 24 hours after the Raptors were routed 132-93 by the Denver Nuggets, their fifth worst defeat.

It was also the fourth loss in six games for the Raptors, who have slipped to eighth in the Eastern Conference with a record of 8-9.

In four-plus seasons in Toronto, Mitchell posted a record of 156-189, earning NBA coach of the year honors in 2006-07.

Writing by Steve Keating; Editing by Tony Jimenez

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