As of today, Brian Hill is no longer the head coach of the Orlando Magic.
Brian Hill will not return as head coach of the Orlando Magic the Orlando Sentinel learned Wednesday afternoon. The club is soon expected to announce that he will be offered a position with the organization.
The Magic had said in early March when the team was struggling that they still had confidence in Hill. General Manager Otis Smith told the Sentinel before the Magic faced the Houston Rockets on March 11 that he expected Hill to "fulfill his contractual obligations" through 2009.
Hill had even said he was not worried about "my job security."
But by the end of the season, Hill was receiving lukewarm endorsements from President Bob Vander Weide and Otis Smith.
Vander Weide said after the Magic were ousted by the Detroit Pistons that he was "satisfied" with his team, and a day later, Smith said he "expected" Hill to return.
Then, just before Hill and the Magic decided to part, a club official said Hill was "frustrated" with the job.
Hill was hired for the second time by the Magic on May 24, 2005, taking over for interim coach Chris Jent. Jent had replaced Johnny Davis, who was fired as head coach.
Hill was fired the first time after a player revolt in 1997, ending a near four-year run in which Hill took Orlando to the NBA Finals in 1995.
In his first season back with the team in 2005-06, Hill led the Magic to a 36-46 record -- the same record they compiled under Davis and Jent the previous season.
Last season, the Magic jumped to a 13-4 start but faded badly before making a run to barely reach the playoffs. They were swept in four games in the first round by the Pistons.
Hill became a target of fan criticism on sports-radio talk shows. One fan started a FireBrianHill.org Web site.
There was speculation that Hill and Smith had some philosophical differences, most notably with the style of offense and Hill's use of certain players.
When told that Smith said the Magic's biggest need this offseason was a scorer, Hill said he was not comfortable giving his opinion, adding he would "defer" to the general manager.
Since Chuck Daly resigned in 1999, the Magic have had four head coaches -- Doc Rivers, Davis, Jent and Hill.
As far as replacements for Hill, veteran coaches Larry Brown, Lenny Wilkens, Stan Van Gundy, Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Fratello could be available. Veteran Rick Carlisle was fired this season by the Indiana Pacers. Phoenix assistant Marc Iavaroni and Dallas assistant Sam Vincent are also possible candidates.
Florida Gators Coach Billy Donovan, who has led the Gators to back-to-back national championships, has expressed a desire to one day coach in the NBA. But Donovan apparently is waiting on a contract extension from the school.