Doug Collins announced his resignation as head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers in a press conference with majority owner, Josh Harris, on Thursday. Collins will stay with the organization as an advisor for the next five years. Harris said he would like to have a coach in place before the June 27th NBA Draft.
Here’s a look at some possible candidates:
Michael Curry, Associate Head Coach
Curry has served as Doug Collins’ Associate Head Coach for his three year stint with the Sixers. At just 44 years of age, he is well-respected around the league. Curry is largely responsible for the Sixers improvement on defense since he arrived in Philly. While his head coaching experience is brief, he did take the Detroit Pistons to the postseason in his lone season in that role.
Aaron McKie, Assistant Coach
McKie is born and raised in Philadelphia. He attended high school at Simon Gratz before graduating from Temple University. After being the 17th overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft by the Portland Trailblazers, he played nine seasons with the Sixers from 1997-2005. As a player, his best season came in 2000-2001, when he was named the NBA Sixth Man of the Year in the midst of a run to the NBA Finals with the Sixers. McKie joined the coaching staff in 2007, and is now just 40 years old.
Jay Wright, Head Coach at Villanova
Jay Wright has been the head coach at Villanova for twelve seasons and has one year remaining on his contract with the school. In his time with the Wildcats, he has taken the team to two Sweet Sixteens, one Elite Eight, and one Final Four. Wright has an impressive 257-144 record with Villanova.
Mike Budenholzer, Assistant Coach with San Antonio Spurs
Budenholzer does not have the history that most head coaching prospects have. He was hired by the Spurs as their Video Coordinator before the 1994-1995 season. Just two years later, the Spurs made him an assistant. Budenholzer is now the number one assistant, and has been since 2007-2008. Learning from one of the best in the business, Gregg Popovich, there is a chance that Budenholzer is head and shoulders above the rest of the assistants being considered for head coaching jobs.
Larry Brown, Head Coach at SMU
Could it be true? Could Larry Brown return to Philly? At 72 years of age, it is likely Brown would consider making a return if the Sixers decided to give him a call. Larry Brown took the Sixers to the NBA Finals in 2000-2001. With a record of 1098-904 in the NBA, Brown was inducted to the Hall of Fame as a coach in 2002. He has an NBA Championship, three Conference Championships, ten Division Championships, and eighteen playoff appearance in 26 seasons. He is also the only coach in NBA history to take eight different teams to the playoffs. Brown has had success at the college level as well, winning an NCAA Championship with Kansas.
While any team would love to bring in a coach with Phil Jackson’s pedigree, it is highly unlikely that a proven coach would be willing to come to Philadelphia. Jeff Van Gundy’s name has come up in discussions, but it’s unlikely he would walk away from being an NBA analyst to coach the Sixers. Ultimately, the Sixers braintrust will more than likely have to take a chance on an assistant, or bring back a guy like Larry Brown. More names will undoubtedly surface, but these are just a few candidates for now.