Paul Woolpert drawing up a play during a timeout in Tulsa. (Photo courtesy Layne Murdoch/NBAE/Getty Images)
Paul Woolpert, head coach of the Tulsa 66ers, will not be retained as coach of the Tulsa 66ers. Woolpert arrived in Tulsa after winning three CBA championships with the Yakima Sun Kings of the CBA, where he finished as the fifth winningest coach in CBA history. The 66ers are owned by the Oklahoma City Thunder, and as such, I'd assume Woolpert wasn't in charge of many basketball decisions other than coaching. If that is indeed the case, this would seemingly be a personality conflict, as Woolpert's known to be a bit of a hot head - ejection from his first D-League game included.
Woolpert led Tulsa to just a 15-35 record, but didn't have much to work with, due to both injuries and personnel decisions that he more than likely wasn't making on his own. Chris Richard, Tulsa's first round pick and former NBAer, was out for the majority of the season with a back injury. Steven Hill was acquired mid-season after being on assignment from OKC early in the season, but shortly thereafter also was shut down for the season with injury issues. Former Philiadelpia 76er Herbert Hill, acquired late in the season by Tulsa, played well in five games for Tulsa, averaging 17.6 points and 9.6 boards. Hill, however, was also lost for the season due to injury.
Personnel decisions weren't as pronounced, but the 66ers kept Steven Hill on the roster for the remainder of the season, even though his last game he played in was January 27th. This was no doubt so that he was kept in the OKC system, but hamstrung Woolpert, as he was left to play with just nine players, none of which included a center.
The 66ers seemed to make decisions that benefitted the parent club rather than the 66ers, which is the right way to do things. If they want to continue to do things the right way, I think they should bring back coaching legend Joey Meyer, Tulsa's previous head coach who was left out in the cold when OKC bought the 66ers.
Meyer is a two-time D-League champion, having previously coached the Asheville Altitude to back-to-back D-League championships (Assistant? Old pal Mike Sanders!) before moving to Tulsa with the team after Asheville relocated. Last year in Tulsa, the 66ers just barely missed the playoffs, but did develop Ramon Sessions pretty well, as he was the first ever D-League alum with an NBA triple-double this season. Meyer also coached 13 years DePaul from 1984-1997.
For more coaching options, refer to this recent post, where I profiled the more high-profile assistant's in the D-League.