The Phoenix Suns today announced that the team has relieved Terry Porter of his head coaching duties.  Alvin Gentry, a Suns assistant coach since 2004, will assume the role of interim head coach.

“I hired Terry because I believed he would be able to provide the balance our team needed in order to perform at a very high level.  Unfortunately the transition from last season to this one proved to be very difficult, and we have not played to our potential.  It’s imperative that we move forward and do what’s best for our team.  Alvin has been an integral part of our successes the previous four years and knows our talent as well as anyone,” said Suns President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Steve Kerr.

A 29-year coaching veteran, Gentry originally joined the Suns staff as an assistant on June 1, 2004, and has served in that position the last four-plus seasons as Phoenix posted the winningest four-year stretch in franchise history.  Gentry takes the reins as head coach of his fourth NBA team after stints with the Los Angeles Clippers (2000-03), Detroit Pistons (1997-2000) and Miami Heat (1995) in which he compiled a 177-226 (.439) career record.  Gentry’s 1998-99 Pistons earned a playoff berth.  In 2001-02, his second season with the Clippers, he guided Los Angeles to an improbable 39-43 (.476) record, the team’s highest win total in nearly 10 seasons, a season after leading the club to a 16-win improvement in 2000-01, his rookie campaign with the club.

In 20 seasons in the NBA, Gentry has worked alongside or under some of the game’s most respected coaches, including Larry Brown, Kevin Loughery and Doug Collins.  The 53-year-old Gentry received his first assistant coaching job in the NBA under Brown with the San Antonio Spurs in 1988-89 after serving under Brown with the 1988 NCAA Champion Kansas Jayhawks men’s basketball team.

Porter was named the 13th head coach in Suns franchise history on June 9, 2008.  In 51 games this season, Phoenix compiled a 28-23 (.549) record and currently sits in ninth place in the Western Conference.