| ||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 Tickets.com, North America's
second-largest ticketing organization, were introduced at a news
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
Versace shrugged off Lowe's difficult first experience as an NBA
"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
Versace said several coaches were on Vancouver's list of
candidates, including former Atlanta Hawks head coach Lenny
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.
"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
"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
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."
|Sidney Lowe tries on his new hat as coach of the Grizzlies.|| |
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