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Wizards Begin Head Coach Search, 1 Known Candidate

Washington Wizards head coach candidate Brian Keefe

On Wednesday, Monumental Basketball president Michael Winger addressed the media after the Washington Wizards went 15-67 in the regular season.

Though the Wizards weren’t expected to be a playoff team, their performance left a lot to be desired. This was in large part due to Jordan Poole failing to take the step from sixth man to star starter. Indeed, averaging 17.4 points per game on a 52.9 true shooting percentage, he looked every bit like the archetypal sixth man.

Wizards Begin Head Coach Search, Brian Keefe a Candidate

However, their coaching was also underwhelming, the Wizards lacking competitiveness as much as top-tier talent. Former head coach Wes Unseld only managed to lead Washington to a 7-36 record before being replaced by Keefe. Hired in 2021, he was just 77-130 after three seasons with the Wizards.

Yet, his replacement didn’t fare much better. In the final 39 games, interim head coach Brian Keefe went 8-31. With the season now over, the Wizards will conduct a thorough coaching search. Interestingly, they had not begun that process until Wednesday.

That was intentional,” Winger says, citing a desire to decrease the drama and distractions that would come from those headlines (per The Athletic’s Josh Robbins).

“It was basically our way of giving our players and this coaching staff the freedom to be who they are without having to read about names or process or visits that we’re making or whatever the case may be.”

Wizards general manager Will Dawkins also addressed their head coach search, saying, “We’ll look around, and we’ll definitely be inclusive.”

“At the end of the day, I think we’re going to find the right person who has the right core characteristics to lead this organization and lead this team, the things that we value most, and will be able to lead us and move us forward in this current phase that we’re in as a basketball club.”

The Wizards “want their coaching hire to excel in developing players and holding players accountable.” To that point, Keefe “is expected to be a candidate” for their head coach vacancy, as the Wizards were pleased with how he coached the team in those two areas.

Potential Head Coach Candidates

The Charlotte Hornets and Brooklyn Nets have also been conducting head coach interviews. This week, the Nets hired Sacramento Kings associate head coach Jordi Fernandez as the replacement for interim head coach Kevin Ollie. The Hornets have vetted several highly touted candidates, including Boston Celtics lead assistant Charles Lee.

Another popular head coach candidate, Phoenix Suns associate head coach Kevin Young, has agreed to become the head coach of BYU’s men’s basketball team.

The Wizards could look at many of the same candidates as the Hornets and Nets.

Aside from Lee, former Atlanta Hawks and Mikwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer is particularly notable. A two-time Coach of the Year Award winner, Budenholzer led the Bucks to a championship in 2021. Given the Wizards’ desire for a coach that holds his players accountable, former Vanderbilt head coach Jerry Stackhouse could be among their candidates as well.


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