Doug Collins was fired as coach of the Detroit Pistons Monday, ending a stint in which he clashed with his players and failed to get his team above .500 this season.
Collins was informed of his dismissal by team owner William Davidson on Sunday night. He will be replaced by assistant Alvin Gentry. Rick Sund will assume Collins's job of director of basketball operations.
Collins learned of his removal while with the team in Washington and reportedly was on the way to the office of his agent, Tom Langel, in Philadelphia. The Pistons play the Wizards tonight.
The Pistons, winners of 54 games a year ago, have been the league's most disappointing team in the first half of the 1997-98 season with a 21-24 record. Despite signing center Brian Williams as a free agent in the off-season and trading for guard Jerry Stackhouse in December, the Pistons rank 11th out of the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference.
As a result, Collins has been on the hot seat, especially since his emotional style of coaching appears to be wearing thin with the players. Collins was fired by the Chicago Bulls in 1989 after three seasons as head coach because the players viewed him as an emotional rollercoaster. He was in his third season as Pistons coach, and the players were no longer responding to his tactics.
Detroit lost 10 of its first 15 games to start the season. After finally reaching the .500 mark (20-20) with a win against the Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 22, the Pistons have dropped four of their last five games.
Collins, 46, led the Pistons to the playoffs in each of his first two seasons. Detroit finished 54-28 last year, but lost to the Atlanta Hawks in five games in the first round, dropping the final two games of the best-of-five series. In his first year in 1995-96, the Pistons went 46-36 and were swept in the first round by Orlando.
In his first two seasons with Detroit, Collins compiled a 100-64 record, becoming the fastest coach to 100 victories in franchise history. He was 137-109 in three years as coach of the Bulls from 1986-87 to 1988-89.
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