Vinny Del Negro named Bulls head coach
Vinny Del Negro was introduced as head coach of the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.
Del Negro, 41, replaces Jim Boylan, who served as interim head coach following the Dec. 24 dismissal of Scott Skiles.
Chicago posted a 33-49 record this season, including 24-32 under Boylan, and missed the playoffs.
"I think we have got very good players that, last year, played down from their ability," Bulls general manager John Paxson said.
The Bulls pursued Mike D'Antoni and Doug Collins and interviewed Dwane Casey and Chuck Person before settling on Del Negro, who has never coached in the NBA.
D'Antoni signed with the New York Knicks without hearing Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf's presentation, and negotiations with Collins fell apart last Friday.
"I have not coached before," Del Negro said. "Winning builds confidence and there is a young team here [in Chicago] that needs a confidence boost, I think."
"Many guys have stepped into this job without experience and done very well," Paxson said.
Del Negro toiled this season as the assistant general manager of the Phoenix Suns, who hired Terry Porter to fill their head coaching vacancy on Monday.
Del Negro expressed a keen interest in coaching the Suns, but he failed to make GM Steve Kerr's short list of four candidates.
"I'm not a magician," Del Negro said. "It is not going to happen overnight.
"But I feel very confident that, over time, we will get things moving in the right direction — back in the right direction that the Bulls are used to."
Del Negro played 11 seasons in the NBA, averaging 9.1 points, 3.2 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 24.9 minutes in 771 games (370 starts) with the Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors and Suns.
Drafted out of North Carolina State in the second round (29th overall) by Sacramento in 1988, he later interrupted his NBA career to play basketball in Italy (1990-92, 1998-99).
With files from the Associated Press