Floyd Resigns As Bulls Coach

Tuesday, December 25th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DEERFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ Tim Floyd isn't sure if he wants to coach again. And after three-plus seasons with the Chicago Bulls, who can blame him.

In a move surprising only for its timing, Floyd resigned as the Bulls coach Monday afternoon. He was 49-190, one of the worst records ever for an NBA coach.

``This is a place that had an incredible amount of tradition before I got here,'' a somber Floyd said. ``It's something I felt every day as a coach here with the Bulls. ... It's a great, great thing _ it's why I came.

``At the same time, it has a lot to do maybe with why I'm stepping away.''

Assistant Bill Berry was named interim head coach, and general manager Jerry Krause said a search for a permanent replacement could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Chicago's next game is Wednesday in Memphis, Tenn.

Though he was a successful college coach in his previous life, Floyd was doomed to failure in Chicago. It's hard enough to replace someone like Phil Jackson, who won six NBA titles and 74 percent of his games in his nine years with the Bulls.

But try doing it without Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman. Try doing it with the likes of Randy Brown, Brent Barry and Chris Anstey.

``This was an incredible opportunity, and things just didn't work out,'' Floyd said. ``I would have hoped for more. I believed in this place wholeheartedly, I believed in this organization.''

The organization didn't give him much to work with, though. When Krause broke up the championship gang, he figured he could stockpile top draft picks and give the cash he was saving to big-name free agents.

But the free agents didn't come, preferring to sign with teams _ Orlando, anyone? _ that had a better chance to win. And Krause junked his first youth movement this summer, trading former No. 1 pick Elton Brand to the Los Angeles Clippers for the rights to Tyson Chandler, a prep star who was the second overall pick.

The Bulls used the No. 4 pick on another high schooler, Eddy Curry. And just like that, Floyd was back to where he was two years ago.

``These young players, I think, are going to be good players at some point,'' Floyd said. ``It's going to take some time, though. I think players expect these young players to go from A to Z. ... These guys simply can't go from A to Z overnight. It takes time.''

But the Kiddie Corps wasn't the only problem. Unlike his first three years, when Floyd rarely had to deal with controversy, it seemed like there was one squabble after another this season.

Charles Oakley, brought in to provide leadership, has instead clashed with Floyd and criticized team management. Oakley was even fined $50,000 for one of his outbursts. There also was a run-in with Ron Artest over how injured players should dress when they're sitting on the bench.

``Every day has been hell,'' Floyd said earlier this season. ``It hasn't been fun.''

And then, of course, there were the losses. Chicago started 1-13 for a third straight season and is now 4-21, the worst record in the NBA.

``I know he's a competitor, I know he wanted to win more than anybody,'' said forward Marcus Fizer, who played for Floyd at Iowa State before being drafted by the Bulls last year.

``He came to work each and every day looking forward to winning. I personally don't know how he's lasted this long with that burden of not being able to win as many games as he'd wanted to.''

Though there were rumors of a power struggle with Krause, Floyd said it was his decision to resign. And Krause, using profanity, denied there was a clash with his handpicked coach _ someone he once considered a friend.

``We need to go on from here,'' said Krause, who refused to take questions. ``This organization will go on from here.''

Floyd insisted all along he wouldn't resign. He had a contract through the 2004-05 season that paid him a reported $2 million a year.

More importantly, he didn't want to be a quitter. He said so three weeks ago, after a team meeting in which he reportedly said he'd ask Krause to relieve him of his duties if players continued to undermine him.

Finally, though, it all got to be too much.

``I wish everybody associated with this place the absolute very best and I think this will be best for everybody,'' Floyd said. ``Sometimes there are days when you get to eat the bear, and some days the bear eats you.

``This was just one of those times in my life that it didn't go exactly like I would have hoped it would have gone.''