Sixers hire Collins as new coach

Updated: May 21, 2010, 8:45 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Philadelphia 76ers made Doug Collins their top choice for a second time.

Collins was hired Friday by the Sixers and charged with reviving a sagging franchise that has the No. 2 overall pick in the June draft.

Collins emerged as Philadelphia's top choice out of seven candidates, marking the second time he's come out on top with the organization. The Sixers made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 1973 draft.

This is Collins' fourth stint as an NBA coach. He's worked as an analyst for TNT since leaving the Washington Wizards in 2003.

"We are excited to hire a head coach with the level of experience, knowledge and passion for the game that Doug Collins has," team president Ed Stefanski. "He has been around basketball his entire life, has experienced success at every step throughout his career and we are confident in his ability to lead our team."

Collins could not immediately be reached for comment. The Sixers have scheduled a news conference for Monday.

Collins went 332-287 in coaching stints with the Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons and Wizards. He led the Bulls to the Eastern Conference finals in 1989.

The 76ers made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 1973 draft, and he played eight seasons with them. He was a four-time All-Star in a career shortened by injuries.

Collins agreed to a four-year deal, a source told ESPN.com's Chris Sheridan on Thursday.

Stefanski interviewed Collins on May 1, and he quickly became the top candidate to replace the fired Eddie Jordan.

"The past week has provided us with a series of events that we believe will be a turning point for the Philadelphia 76ers," Comcast-Spectacor chairman Ed Snider said. "Doug Collins is a coach that can make an immediate impact. He has all the attributes that we are looking for in a new head coach and we are happy to welcome him back into the Sixers family."

The 58-year-old Collins will need time to build a winner in Philadelphia, something other coaches haven't been afforded. Since Larry Brown left in 2003, four others have failed to coach more than 82 games for the organization.

Jordan, Stefanski's first major coaching hire, flopped in his lone season. After first-round exits in the playoffs two straight seasons, the Sixers finished 27-55 and in the draft lottery.

Sixers forward Elton Brand hoped Collins would end the team's coaching carousel. Brand, who hasn't lived up to his $80 million, five-year contract signed in 2008, said there's enough talent for Collins to bring the Sixers back to the postseason.

"What gives me hope is that his body of work is pretty strong," Brand said by phone from Los Angeles. "Around the league, people know he knows his X's and O's. He's one of the best coaches that can draw up a play and get a guy a shot."

This could turn out as the most pivotal offseason for the Sixers since they selected Allen Iverson with the No. 1 overall pick in 1996. The Sixers moved up from the sixth spot to grab the No. 2 pick in Tuesday's lottery.

Now they know who will coach whomever they draft.

Collins guided a young Michael Jordan and the Bulls from 1986 to '89 and the Pistons from 1995 to '98. He coached Jordan again with the Wizards from 2001 to '03.

His two seasons with the Wizards were his only two full seasons in which he did not lead his team to the playoffs. He was fired shortly after Jordan was denied a return to the front office.

Stefanski and other members of Sixers management also interviewed Phoenix Suns assistant coach Dan Majerle, Houston Rockets assistant Elston Turner, Portland Trail Blazers assistant Monty Williams and former Pistons star Bill Laimbeer.

Collins has been with TNT since leaving the Wizards.

He averaged 17.9 points in a Sixers career marred by injuries. A knee injury forced him to retire in 1981, two years before the 76ers beat the Los Angeles Lakers for the 1983 NBA title.

Collins was an Olympic star, but he had his dream of gold ripped away by the loss to the Soviet Union in the 1972 Munich Games.

Collins' work as an NBA broadcaster took him to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where he experienced another emotional scene.

After the U.S. team won the gold medal, LeBron James jumped over the scorer's table, embraced Collins and said, "This is for you."

Collins was so moved he had to put down his microphone.

"Then they brought me out on the floor and put the gold medal around my neck because they knew of my story in 1972," Collins said in September.

Collins received the Curt Gowdy Media Award at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September for his work as a broadcaster.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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