Collins backs out of Bulls coaching search

CHICAGO (TICKER) —Doug Collins will not be returning for a second coaching stint with the Chicago Bulls, according to a published report Friday.

The Chicago Tribune reported Collins and team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf mutually agreed during a phone conversation that the Bulls’ coaching search would continue without Collins.

“I just knew over the last few days that Jerry was really struggling over whether or not to do this, and I didn’t want Jerry to have those struggles,” Collins told the newspaper.

“This is absolutely mutual. When this first came about, there was a tremendous amount of excitement about this possibility. And I’m losing that. The feeling now is more, ‘Should I do this?’ Once I got to that point, it meant no. I always make decisions yes is yes, no and maybe is no.”

On May 29, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Thursday that a deal with Collins would be announced “sooner rather than later.”

Collins coached the Bulls from 1986-89. He was fired in a controversial move by Reinsdorf despite taking the Bulls to the Eastern Conference finals in his last season.

After his dismissal, Collins kept a close relationship with Reinsdorf and current Bulls general manager John Paxson.

Collins, who currently serves as broadcaster for TNT, also has coached Detroit and Washington in his career. He owns a 332-287 record, including a 15-23 playoff mark. Collins said Friday he would continue his broadcasting career with the cable network.

Chicago, which was expected to contend in the Eastern Conference this past season, was a major disappointment, going 33-49 en route to missing the playoffs.

The Bulls’ tumultuous season included the firing of coach Scott Skiles in December. Interim coach Jim Boylan was let go at the conclusion of the campaign.

One positive is that the Bulls own the first pick in the June 26 draft. That selection is expected to be either Memphis point guard Derrick Rose or Kansas State forward Michael Beasley.

According to the Tribune, candidates to become the next Bulls coach include Chuck Person, Dwane Casey, Vinny Del Negro, Tyrone Corbin and Elston Turner. Paxson reportedly has little interest in Flip Saunders, who was fired as coach of the Pistons earlier this week.

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Updated Friday, Jun 6, 2008