The Sixers and General Manager Ed Stefanski announced this morning that they have completed six interviews for their vacant head coaching position. Until this release, the number was thought to be four: Eddie Jordan, Dwane Casey, Kurt Rambis, and Tom Thibodeau.
That makes the question: Who were the two candidates interviewed that weren't known? A source has confirmed that one was internal candidate Chris Ford, who has been the head coach of the Boston Celtics as well as a short stint with the Sixers. The second was Jay Wright, currently coaching the Villanova Wildcats. Villanova PR has confirmed that Stefanski reached out to Wright and that Wright said he is not interested in moving from Villanova to the Wachovia Center. A press release is expected confirming that Wright will remain at Villanova.
Here are Wright's comments:
“Last week, Ed reached out to me to see if I would be willing to speak to him about the Sixers’ coaching position,” stated Wright. “He is a longtime friend of mine whom I have great respect for and is someone I talk to often. We had a lively conversation about the vision Ed has for the Sixers organization. As a lifelong Sixers fan, I was honored to be part of the process.
“Following our meeting, I called Ed to thank him and requested that he remove me from consideration. I love Villanova and it is where I want to be. I am grateful to the Sixers for including me in the process. There is a lot to look forward to for Sixer fans like me with the young talent they have put together and the leadership of Ed Stefanski.”
In the release, Stefanski said the following:
"In the past week, I have completed interviews with six candidates, all of whom are exceptionally qualified, have an impressive knowledge of the game and are very well-respected within the basketball community.
"I truly appreciate that they took time out of their schedules to meet with me regarding this position. Along with my staff, we will continue our due diligence – including further interviews, extensive research and in-depth background checks – before a final selection is made.
"As I have said before, the qualities I am looking for in our next head coach include excellent communication and leadership skills, will stress the importance of accountability while also developing our players and will be a strong tactician.
"As such, due to the number of candidates still involved in the process, there is no timetable set for when this very important decision regarding the future direction of the franchise will be made."