Lenny Wilkens Steps Down As Supersonics' Vice Chairman
Friday, July 6th 2007, 7:46 pm
By: News On 6
SEATTLE (AP) _ Hall of Fame coach Lenny Wilkens resigned Friday as the vice chairman of the Seattle SuperSonics, completing a rapid decline from his role in the organization.
``My passion for this city and this franchise has never wavered, but I feel that my position within the organization did not develop the way that I thought it would,'' Wilkens said in a statement.
Wilkens became the Sonics' vice chairman last November, taking on the role as an adviser on basketball operations to owner and Oklahoma City businessman Clay Bennett and also working in community relations.
His role expanded in late April when the team reassigned general manager Rick Sund and fired coach Bob Hill. Wilkens was put in charge of the search to fill both positions, and was promoted to president of basketball operations.
That promotion wasn't without confusion. Wilkens announced his new job on a Seattle sports radio station; the team briefly denied that Wilkens had been promoted before confirming the move.
When the Sonics hired Sam Presti as their general manager on June 7, Bennett announced that Presti held authority on all basketball-related decision, and Wilkens would resume his role as vice chairman.
Wilkens has not been seen at any Sonics-related events since Presti was hired.
``I am extremely competitive, I'm driven to win and I have a deep passion for the game. I wish the Sonics well in the future,'' Wilkens said.
Wilkens, the NBA's career victory leader, coached the Sonics to their only championship in 1979. He spent 11 seasons as a player-coach or coach of the SuperSonics, part of his 32 seasons as an NBA coach. He has a career mark of 1,332-1,155.