Well, this is, in a word, surprising.
As first reported by Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, Orlando Magic head coach Scott Skiles has told the organization he is resigning, effective immediately. According to the Magic’s Twitter account, a search for a new coach has already begun.
A statement from Skiles and the Magic reads as follows:
Scott Skiles has resigned as head coach of the Orlando Magic, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today. The search for a new head coach will begin immediately.
“After much thought and careful consideration, I and I alone, have come to the conclusion that I am not the right head coach for this team,” said Skiles. “Therefore, effective immediately, I resign my position as head coach of the Orlando Magic. I realize this type of decision can cause much speculation. The reality though is in the first sentence. It is simple and true. Any other rumors are pure conjecture.”
“I sincerely apologize for any unintended consequences that may adversely affect anyone associated with this decision,” Skiles continued. “The Magic are a world-class organization that employs world-class people. I wish them nothing but great success. I will always be thankful, especially to the DeVos family, for the opportunity.”
“While we understand it was a challenging season, we reluctantly have accepted Scott’s (Skiles) resignation,” said Hennigan. “We appreciate Scott instilling a culture of accountability and certainly wish him and his family well.”
No specific reason was given for Skiles’ decision other than that he felt he “wasn’t right” for the team. However, word from Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel was that Skiles has been “unhappy for a few months now.” Certainly, that would seem to explain Skiles’ wording and the Magic being “reluctant” to accept his resignation.
If nothing else, the move is surprising because Skiles just completed his first season with the Magic, amassing a 35-47 record and missing the playoffs. Before that, he was the head coach with the Milwaukee Bucks, where he also resigned, the Chicago Bulls and Phoenix Suns.
Skiles’ resignation also furthers what has been a brutal year for head coaches in the league, with just more than one-third of them being fired or resigning of their own accord.
For whatever it’s worth, which might be nothing at all, the Pacers “parted ways” with Frank Vogel earlier this month and Skiles is from Indiana. That’s purely connecting dots at this point, but there seems to be at least some credence to it:
The Magic players certainly weren’t prepared for his decision.
And Robbins is offering more insight into what caused the move. Skiles and GM Rob Henningan apparently didn’t see eye to eye on personnel, specifically at the point guard position, the same position Skiles played for the Magic in the late ’80s and early ’90s.
Hennigan and the team backed Elfrid Payton, who just finished his second year in the Association; Skiles did not.
We’ll have more as this story develops.