Your Idaho Stampede announced today Bob MacKinnon has stepped down as Head Coach of the professional basketball team in Boise, Idaho.
Effective immediately, MacKinnon will leave the franchise by mutual agreement between him and the team. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The above comes directly from the team's press release (the Stampede aren't really your team).
Without that giving any real clarification as to who's decision it was part ways (unless they truly did have a 50-50 mutual agreement), I don't really know what to say about this.
I thought Bob did a great job at the beginning of the season - he had an excellent draft, made the trade for Anthony Tolliver and was able to get out to a hot start with the guys he brought in - but the Stampede stumbled down the stretch.
The late season struggles were mostly due to the players he was able to move onto the NBA (Sundiata Gaines and Anthony Tolliver were both perfect for his system) and while that should be the goal in the NBA Development League, winning seems to be paramount over developing NBA players in the eyes of Stampede ownership.
As Rumble said in the fan posts, it might have been a case of each party living in the past.
What's next for the Stampede?
The Idaho Stampede will start a national search immediately for a new Head Coach. "We would like to fill the position in the next 45 days," said Ilett. "This will enable our new coach to attend summer camps and start building our squad for next year."
My list of preliminary candidates can be found in alphabetical order after the jump.
Joel Abelson - Abelson is a long-time favorite with the RU staff, as well as an assistant coach for the Stampede the past two seasons, though he wasn't mentioned at all in the press release. Abelson's D-League resume includes assistantship stints with Joey Meyer, Bryan Gates and MacKinnon as well as working for the Charlotte Bobcats basketball operations, training NBA players at Abunassar Impact Basketball in Las Vegas and working for NBA coaching veteran Bob Hill while training NBA Draft prospects during the Summer.
Larry Krystkowiak - Krystkowiak was rumored to be the top candidate for this position last season, but he and the Idaho brass were never able to work out a deal. Krystkowiak coached the Stampede to the championship in the CBA once, but left after that season to become a coach at the University of Montana. A few seasons later, Krystkowiak would become the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks - though he hasn't coached anywhere since 2008. After recently being passed over for the Boise State job, maybe he's ready to negotiate with the Stampede again this Summer.
Randy Livingston - Livingston has to be the presumed favorite right now, though that was the prevailing thought last season as well. Coach Livingston played five seasons for the Stampede, assisted Bryan Gates the following and moved onto become the top assistant with the expansion Maine Red Claws last season. The fans love him and he knows what he's doing. Why not?
Deane Martin - I really don't know if Martin would want to come back to the D-League, but I do seem to remember hearing that he'd had a good interview with the Stampede for this job last year. Martin doesn't have any head coaching experience, though he's familiar with the D-League - spending stints on the sidelines under current Golden State Warriors assistant Scott Roth as well as in Dakota under Duane Ticknor. He worked as a scout for the Charlotte Bobcats this past season.
Dale Osbourne - Osbourne is the only guy on this list that has never been tied to the Stampede before, but I think it's time that he's looked at as a head coach. The current 66ers assistant cut his teeth as an assistant with Ticknor in the USBL, so he's from (roughly) the same coaching tree as former Stampede head coach Bryan Gates. He has head coaching experience in the CBA and USBL as well as D-League coaching experience as an assistant with the Austin Toros, Utah Flash and Tulsa.
Paul Woolpert - I'm not sure if he lives in Boise or not, but Woolpert did attend the D-League Showcase hosted by the Stampede in January - so I'm mentioning him here. Woolpert would seem to fit the Stampede's meme of minor league winning as he often dominated the CBA as head coach of the Yakima Sun Kings. In his one season as D-League head coach, with the 2008-09 Tulsa 66ers, he didn't fare so hot - though I don't know how much of that was to blame on Woolpert as opposed to the Oklahoma City Thunder having more control over the roster than Woolpert might have liked/been used to.