Source: Cartwright to Coach Bulls

Friday, December 28th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CHICAGO (AP) _ Bill Cartwright, who has five NBA championship rings as a player and assistant coach with the Chicago Bulls, will be the team's new head coach, a team source said Friday.

An afternoon news conference was called to announce Cartwright's promotion, said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Cartwright's promotion was first reported by the Chicago Tribune on its Web site and the Sun-Times in Friday's editions.

Cartwright, a Bulls assistant for five-plus seasons, replaces Tim Floyd, who resigned Monday after going 49-190 in three-plus seasons.

Cartwright was the center on Chicago's first three championship teams. He averaged 13.2 points and 6.3 rebounds in 15 years in the NBA, six with the Bulls.

After retiring in 1994, he earned his master's degree from the University of San Francisco. Phil Jackson hired him as an assistant in 1996, and he was there for Chicago's last two championship teams.

``He's a real even-keeled guy and his demeanor, if he's put in that position, will be good for this team,'' John Paxson, the Bulls radio analyst who played with Cartwright for six years, told the Tribune. ``He has a belief system on how the game should be played.''

But Cartwright will have his work cut out for him. Since the Bulls won the last of their six championships in the 1990s, they are 49-192, including an NBA-worst 4-23 this season.

The Bulls have talent, they're just very young. Rookies Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler are still teen-agers, and it's been Cartwright's job to tutor them since they were drafted.

``They'll stay out there as long as they're playing all right,'' Cartwright told the Tribune. ``As soon as they hurt the team, they will come out. We're still trying to win some games here.''

Cartwright was mentioned as a possible replacement for Jackson 3 1/2 years ago, but his voice raised some concerns. He fractured his larynx after catching an elbow during the 1993-94 season and has undergone five operations to repair it. He still speaks with a raspy voice, but it will be loud enough to be heard.

Cartwright said he's been preparing to be a coach ever since his days as a player. A first-round draft pick by the Knicks in 1979, he played for Jackson, Red Holzman, Hubie Brown, Doug Collins and George Karl in the NBA.

``When I was in Seattle, I used to go into George's coaches meetings in the morning,'' Cartwright told the Tribune and Sun-Times. ``He was surprised to see me down there and probably still thinks I'm a pest. But that was good for me to see what he did and how he prepared.''

Cartwright's first game as a head coach will be Saturday, when the Bulls play host to the Cleveland Cavaliers.