By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Sixers made it official Thursday, Doug Collins is out as head coach. Collins will remain with the team in an advisory role.
“Doug will not coach next season,” Sixers owner Josh Harris said. “A the end of the day, he’s a proud father and he wants to spend time with his family.”
Harris pointed out that the decision to leave was Collins’, and the team did not force him out. Harris said he would have loved to retain Collins as coach.
“When someone says they want to spend time with their kids, and their grand kids, that’s something I respect,” Harris said.
“I don’t want you to miss a coach,” Collins said. “I want you to miss a man.” Collins said his advisory role will last five years.
Collins said that this would be his last NBA coaching job.
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The 2012-13 season was supposed to be different for the Sixers, after they traded Andre Iguodala, Moe Harkless, Nik Vucevic and a first round pick for Andrew Bynum. Bynum never played due to knee problems, and the season fell apart. Collins’ meltdown after a loss at home against Orlando could have been a signal that he had enough.
The Sixers made the playoffs in two of Collins three seasons with the team, finishing above .500 just once. The highlight was the team’s playoff run in 2012, with an improbably playoff win over the Bulls and a seven-game series with the Celtics. The lowlight was, well, pretty much 75% of this season.
“The season has not worked in the way we planned and hoped,” Harris said Thursday. “Ultimately having built many organizations, you build them from the ground up, and it doesn’t happen overnight. We took a shot with Andrew Bynum, and with injuries, it didn’t happen.”
“If I had to make that decision again, I’d make it again,” Harris said of the Bynum trade.
“We swung for the fences, and it didn’t work,” Collins said.
There were rumors that Collins was losing the locker room during a particularly bad stretch of the 2011-12 season, but those whispers quieted when the team closed the season strong and went on their playoff run. Those whispers got louder again this season.
“Around Christmas, I knew there was something I was thinking about,” Collins said when asked when he first thought about leaving the team. “This job, you have to pour heart and soul into it every second. I love this city, and this organization.”
Collins said he told Tony DiLeo shortly after that this would be his final season, but he’s unsure of when DiLeo informed Sixers ownership.
“There’s a lot of things I want to enjoy, and I think it’s every man’s dream to live that life that you have the opportunity to live,” Collins said. “I was not going to base this decision on winning and losing.”
A report from the Inquirer’s Bob Ford last week said that Sixers management would rather Collins did not return for the final year of his contract. Sunday night, multiple sources indicated that Collins informed the team he would not return as coach next year. Harris refuted the report that he did not want Collins to return, and Collins said he knew it wasn’t true.
Collins leaves the head coaching position with a record of 110-120. It’s been mentioned that Collins has never lasted more than three seasons with any team, and that now includes the Sixers.
Harris said Tony DiLeo “is the GM of the team right now,” and Rod Thorn remains as an advisory role. “There we’re certainly be more analytics used in our decision making, we’re here to win.”
“To get Philly fans in the stadium, you have to win,” Harris said. “If you win, you sell tickets, if you don’t win, you won’t sell tickets. I get it. We wish we had won a lot more than we did this year.”