Scott Skiles informs Orlando Magic he's resigning

ESPN logo
Thursday, May 12, 2016

After only one season, Scott Skiles is leaving the Orlando Magic.

"After much thought and careful consideration, I and I alone, have come to the conclusion that I am not the right head coach for this team," Skiles said in a statement released by the team. "Therefore, effective immediately, I resign my position as head coach of the Orlando Magic. I realize this type of decision can cause much speculation. The reality though is in the first sentence. It is simple and true. Any other rumors are pure conjecture.

"I sincerely apologize for any unintended consequences that may adversely affect anyone associated with this decision," Skiles continued. "The Magic are a world-class organization that employs world-class people. I wish them nothing but great success. I will always be thankful, especially to the DeVos family, for the opportunity."

While philosophical issues appear to be the central reason Skiles resigned, sources tell's Brian Windhorst that he was also unhappy that an option year in his contract was not picked up.Skiles' contract with Orlando was set to run through the 2017-18 season with a team option for 2018-19.

In what can now be interpreted as a split with the organization, Skiles was not with the Magic delegation interviewing draft prospects at the combine in Chicago Wednesday, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

"This is certainly a challenging day for us, an unexpected day," Magic general manager Rob Hennigan said at a news conference Thursday afternoon. "I think that when Scott and I first met a year ago we had some great dialogue. We talked about basketball philosophy, basketball character and the things we look for in players.

"Quite honestly, that dialogue continued throughout the course of the season. So with the news we received from Scott (on Wednesday), we were very surprised by it, took as aback a little bit."

Hennigan said Skiles made a personal decision, adding: "He felt like it was the right thing to do for him and his family." The Magic said in a statement that their search for a new coach begins immediately.

Orlando's Evan Fournier took to Twitter to convey his shock shortly after the news broke, and Magic guard Victor Oladipo said he wanted to thank Skiles for helping him "improve on both ends of the floor."

"What I learned from him I will keep with me for the rest of my career," Oladipo wrote. "I wish him all the best in anything he does."

Skiles' departure gave Orlando the fourth current coaching opening in the NBA, joining vacancies in Indiana, Memphis and Houston. It also becomes the 233rd coaching change since Gregg Popovich took over as coach of the San Antonio Spurs in December 1996.

The 52-year-old Skiles has also coached the Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls and Phoenix Suns in a 14-year career.

Skiles was a member of the Magic's inaugural team in 1989-90 and played five seasons in Orlando as part of his 10-year playing career. Skiles had always been a fan favorite in Orlando. He still holds the NBA record for assists in a game with 30, set Dec. 30, 1990 against Denver.

The Magic went 35-47 this season and missed the playoffs for the fourth straight season. They had five players on the roster who were either rookies or in their second season.

The Magic went 9-6 during November, marking their first winning month since March 2012, then an Eastern Conference-best 10-5 during December. Skiles was named the NBA's Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for December, the fourth time he has won the monthly honor (January 2005, April 2006, February 2010). After a 19-13 start to this season, the Magic lost 34 of their final 50 games and missed the playoffs.

Known for his intensity on the bench, Skiles has a reputation for improving each of the teams he has taken over. The Magic won 10 more games than in 2014-15. The 2008-09 Bucks won eight more games in his first season there than the team the previous season.

He led the Bulls to the playoffs in his first full season in 2004-05. His best season came with the Suns in 2000-01, again his first full season as coach there, when they went 51-31.

His no-nonsense approach has also led to speculation that his style doesn't lend itself to a long tenure with one team in today's NBA. Before taking over the Magic, Skiles had said he analyzed his approach and would do some things differently. He also said that he demanded players be on time, play hard and care about winning and that he wasn't afraid to butt heads with those who wouldn't do those things.

"We had good dialogue throughout the course of the season and good dialogue means lots of different things," Hennigan said of his relationship with Skiles. "It means disagreements, arguments, debates and jokes. We certainly had all of that."

Orlando's next coach will be the team's fourth in the span of four years. Stan Van Gundy was fired in 2012, and he's been followed by Jacque Vaughn, James Borrego on an interim basis to end the 2014-15 season and then Skiles this season.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Related Video