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Nets Fire Calipari After Dismal Start

March 16, 1999|Associated Press

John Calipari was fired Monday as coach of the New Jersey Nets, a once-promising team that has become one of the NBA's worst.

The Nets, who traded for star guard Stephon Marbury four days ago, have lost seven consecutive games to fall to 3-17. Only the Clippers (1-19) have a worse record.

The dismissal had been expected after Calipari met with team owners Finn Wentworth and Lewis Katz on Sunday following a 102-76 loss at Miami. Calipari didn't accompany the team to Toronto but traveled there separately Monday and met briefly with the players.

"I haven't really dealt with what I feel," said Calipari, also fired as team vice president. "I wish I had the opportunity to finish the contract.

Calipari, in his third season with the Nets, had two years and $6 million remaining on his five-year, $15-million contract. He was offered a consulting job with the team.

The Nets also fired assistant coaches Johnny Davis, Kenny Gattison and Jack Haley.

Net assistant Don Casey will take over as interim coach.

In two-plus seasons as Nets coach, Calipari had a record of 72-112. After a 26-56 record in his first season, he guided the Nets to a 43-39 record and the playoffs last year.

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