MILWAUKEE (AP) — Scott Skiles is out as Milwaukee Bucks head coach and the team says veteran assistant Jim Boylan will take over for the rest of the NBA season.
General manager John Hammond made it official on Tuesday. "Scott and I met yesterday after practice and after some honest discussion, we both came to the conclusion that it was best to part ways," Hammond said. "It is never an easy decision to make, but in the end a decision we felt was best for both parties."
Skiles had a 162-182 record in four-plus seasons with Milwaukee, with one playoff appearance — a first-round loss to Atlanta in seven games during the 2009-10 season. He was a hard-nosed, defensive-minded coach who sometimes seemed to have difficulty meshing with a roster built around volume shooters Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis.
"I believe this team can and will have success in the next 50 games and postseason," Skiles said. "I want to thank the players for all of their hard work. I wish them all the best." Two other coaches, the Lakers' Mike Brown and Brooklyn's Avery Johnson, are also out of work in this young season. Brown was fired after five games and Johnson last month, about three weeks after being named Eastern Conference coach of the month.
The 57-year-old Boylan has been the lead assistant coach for the Bucks the past four seasons. He was the interim head coach of the Chicago Bulls for the final 56 games of the 2007-08 season, finishing 24-32. In a 20-year NBA coaching career, he has also been an assistant in Cleveland, Vancouver, Phoenix, Atlanta and Chicago.
The Bucks had lost four straight games and took a 16-16 record into Tuesday's home game against Phoenix. Skiles' focus on defense was always going to be tested by a roster revolving around Jennings and Ellis, two flashy scorers who prefer to get up and down the court and lure opposing teams into shootouts. Jennings and Ellis have been giving plenty of effort, but the Bucks were in the middle of the pack in points allowed per game (15th) and field goal percentage defense (18th), below Skiles' lofty expectations.
Still, the Bucks entered Tuesday just three games behind Indiana in the Central Division, despite injuries to Beno Udrih and top defender Luc Mbah A Moute, and in seventh place in the Eastern Conference playoff chase.
Overall, Skiles is 443-433 as an NBA head coach in 12-plus seasons, which also includes stints with the Chicago Bulls and the Phoenix Suns.
AP Basketball Writer Jon Krawczynski contributed to this report from Minneapolis.