MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Grizzlies have hired another first-time head coach, and general manager Chris Wallace thinks David Fizdale’s resume working with the Miami Heat has him primed to continue Memphis’ recent success
Memphis announced Sunday that Fizdale has been hired as the Grizzlies new coach and will introduce him at a news conference Tuesday.
“David’s achievements throughout his career, his reputation as a strong tactician, his leadership with player development, and his ability to communicate and build strong relationships with his players make him the clear choice to guide the Grizzlies on and off the court, as we move forward and collectively build on the consistent success we have attained over the last several years,” Wallace said in a statement.
Fizdale, 41, has spent the past eight years with the Miami Heat, the past two as assistant head coach to Erik Spoelstra. He helped with game preparation and player development, and Miami has won more playoff games (70) and playoff series (15) than anyone in the NBA during his tenure with the Heat. Fizdale also coached the Heat’s summer league teams in 2010 and 2012.
“I have been fortunate to have worked with some of the greatest coaches and players in the NBA and am ready for this challenge,” Fizdale said.
“I am not only here to contribute to an organization that has built a history of winning, I am here to win it all and bring the wonderful people of Memphis their first championship parade down Beale Street.”
In Memphis, Fizdale takes over a team with the NBA’s third-longest postseason streak at six straight seasons behind only San Antonio (19) and Atlanta (nine). But center Marc Gasol is recovering from a broken foot that ended his season in early February, while point guard Mike Conley hits free agency in July.
Fizdale also was an assistant coach with Golden State in 2003-04 and the Atlanta Hawks between 2004 and 2008. He started coaching as an assistant at his alma mater, the University of San Diego, in 1998 through 2002 where he was a three-year starter at point guard.
He also spent a season as Miami’s video intern in 1997-98.
The announcement comes days after Fizdale’s hiring was first reported Thursday by The Associated Press and others. The Grizzlies did not disclose terms, but Yahoo! Sports reported Fizdale agreed to a four-year contract. The Commercial Appeal reported the deal includes a team option for the fourth season.
Fizdale’s wife, Natasha Sen Fizdale, wrote “We’re happy to be here … #Fizz2Grizz,” on Twitter on Sunday in response to the Grizzlies’ formal announcement. The Miami Heat also congratulated Fizdale on Twitter with along with a photo saying, “Best of luck in Memphis, Coach Fiz!”
He replaces Dave Joerger, who was fired May 7 after three seasons and three playoff appearances.
The Grizzlies gave the longtime NBA assistant his first head coaching opportunity during an offseason when many other teams went with NBA head coaching veterans such as Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota, Nate McMillan in Indiana and Frank Vogel in Orlando.
Memphis wrapped up its selection process less than three weeks after dismissing Joerger, who was quickly hired as Sacramento’s head coach.
Memphis also considered former Grizzlies and Nets coach Lionel Hollins, Charlotte assistant Patrick Ewing, Portland assistant Nate Tibbets, Spurs assistants James Borrego and Ettore Messina as well as Vogel.