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 Thursday, June 1
Lowe becomes team's fifth coach in six seasons
 Associated Press

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Vancouver Grizzlies hired Sidney Lowe as head coach and Andy Dolich as president of business operations, two moves the franchise hope will turn around losing ways on the court and at the box office.

Lowe, a former head coach with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Dolich, vice-president of, North America's second-largest ticketing organization, were introduced at a news conference Thursday.

Thursday, June 1
Sidney Lowe has paid his dues. He was too young to be a head coach when he was appointed to lead Minnesota in 1993, but he is a good basketball man. He works at it and is a bright guy. I think he will have good rapport with his players, and I hope he does well.

Vancouver has yet to make a mark in the league, but the Grizzlies are getting personnel. They don't have a bad starting unit. I like Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Mike Bibby, Michael Dickerson and Othella Harrington. The key player is Bryant Reeves. He must get himself in shape and become a consistent NBA center. Lowe needs Reeves to get his act together and needs more quality on his bench.

Both were given multiyear contracts as the franchise's revamping continues under Chicago businessman Michael Heisley, who bought the team earlier this year for $160 million. He hired Dick Versace as team president and Billy Knight as general manager.

The Grizzlies were 22-60 last season, losing $25 million as average attendance slid to 13,000 from 16,000.

Lowe, 40, had a brief stint as Minnesota's head coach six years ago, going 33-102. He then spent five seasons as an assistant with the Cleveland Cavaliers under Mike Fratello before returning to Minnesota as an assistant last year.

"Obviously they weren't good times during those years in Minnesota, but I gained some valuable experience there," Lowe said.

Versace shrugged off Lowe's difficult first experience as an NBA head coach.

"When you get fired in this league, that's like a boy scout getting a badge of honor," he said. "I was interested in substance, not style."

Lowe played on North Carolina State's 1983 national championship team and for five teams in the NBA. He was the consensus choice after a 10-hour interview at Heisley's Chicago office, Versace said.

Versace said several coaches were on Vancouver's list of candidates, including former Atlanta Hawks head coach Lenny Wilkens.

Sidney Lowe
Sidney Lowe tries on his new hat as coach of the Grizzlies.

"I just felt the right guy for this team should be someone who's coming in breathing fire," Versace said.

Lowe characterized the Grizzlies as a younger version of the Timberwolves.

"We've got a couple of pieces, some excellent pieces that we can match up against any players in the league," he said. "It's my job to maximize those guys' talents."

Grizzlies star forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim had hinted through agent Aaron Goodwin he might want out of Vancouver, but Goodwin said he couldn't comment on Lowe's appointment because he didn't know him.

Dolich's pro sports experience includes baseball, hockey, soccer and box lacrosse. His last NBA stint was a brief period as president of the Golden State Warriors in 1995.

Dolich said Vancouver's problems are nothing compared to what he faced turning around baseball's Oakland A's.

"For 14 years we were one of baseball's most significant ugly-duckling-to-swan stories," said Dolich, whose marketing savvy helped boost season-ticket sales to 14,000 from 400.

"The recipe for improvement is pretty simple," he said. "You have an exciting and improving product on the court, knowledgeable management committed to a realistic game plan (and) ownership with a strong spine, a big heart and a flexible purse."

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