Timberwolves fire head coach Dwane Casey

The Minnesota Timberwolves fired head coach Dwane Casey on Tuesday.

The Minnesota Timberwolves fired head coach Dwane Casey on Tuesday.

Casey, 49, was hired as the seventh head coach in franchise history on June 17, 2005, but lasted less than 1½ seasons.

He departs with a record of 53-69, including 20-20 this season.

"We were at a point, as a team, where we were just treading water," said Kevin McHale, the Timberwolves' vice-president of basketball operations.

Plagued by inconsistency all season, the Timberwolves seemed to solve their problems by winning seven of eight games to begin the new year, only to lose four in a row and cost Casey his job.

"It was just, basically, two steps up the hill and two steps down," McHale noted. "We were never able to establish a style of play that we could bank on over and over again.

"We just had these unbelievable swings inside of a week, inside of a game. We were just very erratic."

Casey's dismissal means Flip Saunders is the only Timberwolves head coach to survive more than two seasons.

Saunders lasted almost 10 seasons.

Casey will be replaced on an interim basis by veteran assistant coach Randy Wittman, who compiled a 62-102 mark as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers from 1999-01.

"Witt's going to be the coach for the rest of the year," McHale said. "I fully anticipate Randy being here a long time."

Casey toiled 14 seasons as an assistant coach for the Seattle SuperSonics before landing his first head coaching job with the Timberwolves.

Prior to that, he was a head coach in Japan.

Casey also served as an assistant coach under Eddie Sutton at the University of Kentucky (1985-90), and under Clem Haskins at Western Kentucky University (1980-85).

Casey was banned from coaching in the NCAA in 1990, allegedly for trying to recruit Chris Mills to Kentucky by mailing $1,000 US in cash to his father in 1988.

Although Casey's name appeared on the Emery Worldwide Air Freight package, which came open in transit, he was cleared by NCAA investigators and filed a $6.9-million US anti-defamation lawsuit against the courier company.

Casey reached what he called a "healthy" settlement on Oct. 28, 1990.

With files from the Associated Press