Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced yesterday that the team has named Randy Wittman and Sam Cassell as assistant coaches on the staff of Head Coach Flip Saunders. Per team policy, terms of the contracts were not released.
“Randy and Sam will be excellent additions to our coaching staff, and both will be instrumental in helping us achieve our goals,” said Saunders. “Randy brings a wealth of experience as a former head coach of two different teams and is very familiar with my system. I always regarded Sam as a coach on the floor during his playing days, and he brings instant credibility as a three-time NBA champion and a proven winner.”
Wittman was most recently with the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he served as head coach from January 23, 2007 to December 8, 2008. He previously served as head coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers from 1999-2001. He began his coaching career as an assistant coach with the Indiana Pacers in 1992, and later worked as an assistant for the Dallas Mavericks and Orlando Magic. Wittman played collegiately at Indiana University under Bobby Knight, helping the team to an NCAA championship in 1981. He was originally drafted by the Washington Bullets with the 22nd pick of the 1983 NBA Draft, and played nine seasons in the NBA for the Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers before retiring in 1992 with a career average of 7.4 points per game (.501 FG%) in 543 games.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to work with Flip again, and I’m confident that the staff he is assembling will complement the talented roster that is already in place,” said Wittman. “I’m eager to help this team reach the next level and ready to get to work immediately on the court.”
The 2009-10 season will mark Cassell’s first foray into coaching after an outstanding 15-season playing career. In 993 career regular season games, the former All-Star and Baltimore native averaged 15.7 points and 6.0 assists per game. Cassell has won three NBA Championships (1994 and 1995 with Houston, 2008 with Boston), and appeared in the Eastern Conference Finals with Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld’s Milwaukee Bucks in 2001 and the Western Conference Finals under Flip Saunders with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2004.
“After 15 seasons playing in this league, I have accomplished all that I have dreamed of as a player,” said Cassell. “Now the time has come for to me to take my love for the game to the coaching ranks and pass on what I’ve learned. This team is loaded with talent, and it’s a great way for me to start my coaching career.”