DiLeo will help find replacement
PHILADELPHIA -- Tony DiLeo coached the Philadelphia 76ers to 32 wins in the regular season and two more in the playoffs. He'll now lend an assist in the search for his replacement.
One day after withdrawing his name from consideration to return as the team's coach next season, DiLeo discussed his reasons for stepping down and returning to his role as senior vice president and assistant to general manager and team president Ed Stefanski.
"Family has a lot to do with it," DiLeo said Tuesday. "I will cherish returning to that role to help build the 76ers' organization for a championship."
After the Sixers stumbled to a 9-14 start under Maurice Cheeks, Stefanski replaced him with DiLeo on an interim basis. Philadelphia went 32-27 under DiLeo and earned the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
But a disheartening 25-point loss in the season finale, at home in Game 6 against an Orlando team playing without Dwight Howard, caused some problems as Theo Ratliff and Andre Iguodala offered only lukewarm endorsements of DiLeo.
"It did not weigh into my decision," DiLeo said of his last game as coach. "The results speak for themselves. That one game really had no effect."
DiLeo said he was as upset as anyone over how the season ended. The Sixers have not won a playoff series since 2003.
"I only have one regret doing this job and that was the last game of the season," DiLeo said. "That last game clouded what we accomplished during the season. When I look back at this season and reflect, I'll look back at some of the highlights."
DiLeo cited family as a main factor. He has two sons -- T.J., a freshman who plays for Temple's basketball team, and Max, a sophomore in high school.
"It was a tough decision," DiLeo said. "When you coach in the NBA, it's so demanding. It's 24 hours per day preparing, watching film, practicing, coaching or when you're not doing that, you're thinking about the team to get better."
Stefanski said Monday that there isn't a precise timetable to hire the franchise's 23rd head coach.
"I'll have input with the next coach," DiLeo said. "I'll have input and Ed [Stefanski] will make the final decision."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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