The Bobcats fired coach Mike Dunlap after just one season on Tuesday. Dunlap will not return to the Bobcats' bench after the team finished 21-61, the second-worst record in the NBA.
“[General manager] Rich Cho and I conducted our season-ending review and met with Coach Dunlap to reflect on this season," Bobcats president Rod Higgins said. "As an organization, it was decided that we needed to make a change with the head coach position. We want to thank Mike for his contribution and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
Dunlap, 55, was hired in June 2012 after reportedly beating out Brian Shaw and Quin Snyder. Dunlap, a former Nuggets assistant, had been serving as an assistant coach for St. John's and his hire was greeted with surprise and some skepticism given his lack of NBA head-coaching experience.
In March, the Charlotte Observer reported that owner Michael Jordan told season-ticket holders that "everyone in the organization will be evaluated" and that he would not commit to retaining Dunlap. Before the February trade deadline, Dunlap reportedly had an exchange at a shootaround with veteran guard Ben Gordon, who apparently talked back to his coach and would not stop bouncing a basketball as Dunlap spoke.
Charlotte opened the season 7-5 but went on to lose 18 straight games in November and December and 10 straight games in February and March. The Bobcats would have finished with the league's worst record for the second straight season if not for a three-game winning streak to close the year.
The franchise has had a revolving door on the bench. Dunlap was the Bobcats' fifth coach since the end of the 2006-2007 season, following Bernie Bickerstaff, Sam Vincent, Larry Brown and Paul Silas. Charlotte has advanced to the postseason just once in its nine-year history and has never won a playoff series. Dunlap joins Byron Scott (fired by the Cavaliers), Lawrence Frank (fired by the Pistons) and Doug Collins (stepped down for the Sixers) as coaches who parted ways with their respective organizations since the end of the regular season.