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News » Chicago Bulls Getting Inside 2008-06-18

Chicago Bulls Getting Inside 2008-06-18

Chicago Bulls Getting Inside 2008-06-18
The Bulls' long coaching search came to a surprising conclusion with the hiring of Vinny Del Negro, who was officially introduced on June 11 at the United Center.

Del Negro comes to the job with no formal coaching experience. Since retiring as a player, the former point guard has been a broadcaster for the Spurs, Suns and ESPN, then spent one year in Phoenix as player personnel director and one year as an assistant to Suns general manager Steve Kerr.

"I heard a lot of ideas and a lot of philosophies," Bulls general manager John Paxson said. "I said to myself, 'Why not think outside the box a little bit? Why not take a chance?' It's not something that hasn't been done before."

Del Negro joins a fairly long list of coaches who had no experience before taking on a head job. Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers is in the Finals this year and won NBA Coach of the Year honors in his first season on the bench with Orlando. Larry Bird, Isiah Thomas, Lenny Wilkens, Billy Cunningham and Al Attles are some others in the same category.

"Do I feel totally prepared right now? No. That bothers me," Del Negro said. "But by the time the decisions are made, I will be."

Del Negro was a late arrival to the search process. He first met with Paxson at the NBA Pre-Draft camp, which ran from May 27-30, then visited the Berto Center for two days of meetings on June 5-6. Team insiders suggested Del Negro came to his interview so well-prepared and full of ideas, that it was an easy decision to make.

Former Minnesota coach Dwane Casey and Sacramento assistant Chuck Person were the other finalists for the job.

Del Negro's coaching philosophy is a mystery to anyone who did not sit in on his Bulls' interview. During his introductory news conference, the Springfield, Mass. native shared some thoughts on the style of play he prefers.

"First, you need some type of defensive presence and defensive resolve," Del Negro said. "All great teams have that type of defensive resolve.

"Offensively, there's no question my philosophy is to play the game fast and quick. When you play fast, there's an unpredictability to basketball. That's what makes it exciting and interesting."

SEASON HIGHLIGHT: For lack of a true highlight, it might be the 135-121 victory over Denver on Feb. 22. The game was played the day after Ben Wallace and Joe Smith were sent to Cleveland and before newcomers Drew Gooden and Larry Hughes were cleared to play. That night, the Bulls' core group of young players actually seemed enthused about sharing the ball and recorded a rare win over a good Western Conference team.

TURNING POINT: The only candidate is Oct. 31, a harrowing Halloween night in New Jersey that set the stage for a brutally disappointing season. The coaching staff felt the team looked terrific during the first two weeks of training camp. But by opening night of the regular season, top scorers Ben Gordon and Luol Deng had turned down the team's offers for contract extensions, Kobe Bryant trade rumors dominated the locker room and the Bulls lost in overtime to the Nets, the first of four straight losses to open the season. Things never got any better.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: June 18, 2008


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