Former Sixers coach Tony DiLeo addressed the media today in his first public comments since withdrawing his name from consideration for the job Monday. DiLeo, who took over for the fired Maurice Cheeks in December, will return to his front office role as assistant general manager and vice president.
“It was a tough decision,” DiLeo said. “When you are a head coach in the NBA, it’s so demanding, 24 hours a day you’re either preparing, watching film, practicing, coaching or thinking about the team and what you can do better. If I decided to be a candidate, I would have to look at it for next 3, 4 years, this is what I wanted to do. That was a situation, that right now in my professional and personal life, I did not want to make that decision. Family has a lot to do with it. When you’re a head coach, you’re looking at the short term day to day. In management, you’re looking more how to build a team, for the long term, to winning a championship. Now to I will cherish returning to that role.”
DiLeo said he would consider a return to coaching in the future, but this "was the best decision for me at this time.”
DiLeo said the team's blowout loss to Orlando in Game 6 of the playoffs that ended the Sixers' season did not impact his decision to not pursue the job.
“That one game really had no effect,” he said. “The overall body of work was there.”
After that game, center Theo Ratliff criticized DiLeo, who said "I had no problem with Theo." Forward Andre Igoudala also did not give a glowing vote of confidence to DiLeo or advocate for his return.
“I liked the players, respect the players, had a good relationship with the players," DiLeo said. "That did not weigh into my decision."
DiLeo said that he did not want to pursue the job, simply because the opportunities to be a head coach in the NBA are so rare.
“It is a great opportunity and I enjoyed it," he said. "I had to do it for the right reasons. To look at because there are only 30 jobs and look as an opportunity, that would not be the right reasons for me. The right (thing) for me is to go back up to management and try to help this team win.”
DiLeo said he thought he would have “input in that process” to select a new coach, although it would be team president Ed Stefanski’s decision.
He said the experience as a coach will help him as he returns to management and said he had “a lot of ideas to help the team.”
“It was a great experience, being able to coach these players,” he said. “For me, being in management, I have a better idea of being eye to eye with the players in game situations. That will be better for me to evaluate the team, better for me to evaluate each player. Something from a management position sitting upstairs you just don’t get.”
DiLeo said he expected the Sixers to remain an up-tempo team and continue to play at a fast pace.
“We were one of the best fastbreak teams in the league, one of the most exciting teams in the league,” he said.
“Even though the coach was not that exciting,” he added, deadpan.