Toronto Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo announced Wednesday that Sam Mitchell has been relieved of his duties as the team’s head coach. Assistant coach Jay Triano will assume the position of interim head coach. The remainder of the coaching staff will continue in the organization.
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“This is a difficult but necessary step the franchise must take,” said Colangelo. “We appreciate all that Sam has done for the organization, applaud him for his successes and wish him nothing but the best with his future in basketball.”
Mitchell was named the sixth head coach in Raptors history June 29, 2004. He posted a 156-189 (.452) record in his four-plus seasons at the helm of the Raptors. He garnered the Red Auerbach Trophy as the NBA Coach of the Year for the 2006-07 season. He also captured The Sporting News 2007 NBA Coach of the Year honours in a vote among his head coaching peers. In January 2007, Mitchell became only the second coach in Raptors history to earn Eastern Conference Coach of the Month honours.
Jay Triano is in his seventh season as a member of the Raptors’ coaching staff. He became the first Canadian born and Canadian trained coach in the NBA when he served as an assistant coach to Lenny Wilkens during the 2002-03 season.
A native of Niagara Falls, Triano was the head coach of the Canadian men’s national team from 1998-2004 posting a 52-42 (.553) record. He led Canada to a semifinal berth in the 2003 FIBA Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Puerto Rico and to a 5-2 record, second best to the United States, in the 2000 Olympics. He has also served as an assistant coach of the USAB Select Team (2007 and 2008), the head coach of the NIKE Skills Academy in Vancouver (2006) and Toronto (2007), and for the past six years as a coach at the prestigious EURO CAMP in Treviso, Italy.
Triano served as interim head coach for one game last season when Mitchell was away for a personal family matter. The Raptors defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves, 105-82, on February 10 at Air Canada Centre.
Triano’s first game as interim head coach will be Friday when the Raptors visit the Utah Jazz. Game time is 10:30 ET. The game will be broadcast live TSN and The FAN 590.