Wednesday December 3 2008 - 3:04pm Mountain 

Sam Mitchell has been by the Toronto Raptors. 

More to come

E. Smith



5:35pm Mountain

Well, you heard it / read it here first … on the FAN 590 and …

Sam Mitchell has been fired by the Toronto Raptors.  Here is the official press release from the team:

Toronto Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo announced Wednesday that Sam Mitchell has been relieved of his duties as the team’s head coach. Assistant coach Jay Triano will assume the position of interim head coach. The remainder of the coaching staff will continue in the organization.

“This is a difficult but necessary step the franchise must take,” said Colangelo. “We appreciate all that Sam has done for the organization, applaud him for his successes and wish him nothing but the best with his future in basketball.”

Mitchell was named the sixth head coach in Raptors history June 29, 2004. He posted a 156-189 (.452) record in his four-plus seasons at the helm of the Raptors. He garnered the Red Auerbach Trophy as the NBA Coach of the Year for the 2006-07 season.  He also captured The Sporting News 2007 NBA Coach of the Year honours in a vote among his head coaching peers. In January 2007, Mitchell became only the second coach in Raptors history to earn Eastern Conference Coach of the Month honours.

Jay Triano is in his seventh season as a member of the Raptors’ coaching staff. He became the first Canadian born and Canadian trained coach in the NBA when he served as an assistant coach to Lenny Wilkens during the 2002-03 season.

A native of Niagara Falls, Triano was the head coach of the Canadian men’s national team from 1998-2004 posting a 52-42 (.553) record. He led Canada to a semifinal berth in the 2003 FIBA Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Puerto Rico and to a 5-2 record, second best to the United States, in the 2000 Olympics. He has also served as an assistant coach of the USAB Select Team (2007 and 2008), the head coach of the NIKE Skills Academy in Vancouver (2006) and Toronto (2007), and for the past six years as a coach at the prestigious EURO CAMP in Treviso, Italy.

Triano served as interim head coach for one game last season when Mitchell was away for a personal family matter. The Raptors defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves, 105-82, on February 10 at Air Canada Centre.

Triano’s first game as interim head coach will be Friday when the Raptors visit the Utah Jazz. Game time is 10:30 ET. The game will be broadcast live TSN and The FAN 590.

30 Responses to “Mitchell Fired”
  1. 1.

    Looks like Bryan read my last post, hehe. This is what happens when you have a great active GM who is always on top of things and always trying to improve the team. We were not going to take it to the next level with Sam. Now bring some major experience and let him flourish with this young and talented team. Avery’s name has come up, I think he is a great coach with alot of upside but still he doesn’t have enough experience as a COACH. GO RAPS GO..

    - mrpoker
  2. 2.

    I saw it coming but I’m still shocked.

    - TomGfromBrampton
  3. 3.

    ya I personally thought Bryan would give him a little more time but the sooner the better. This will give them more time in finding a solid replacement. GO RAPS GO….

    - mrpoker
  4. 4.

    Not to put it all on Sam, but something had to happen. The team was obviously underachieving. No hussel. Bad D. Bad rebounding. Just a lot of the same mistakes over and over again. We need a coach that will get much more out of this roster! For starters: A team that loves running the pick n’ roll shoudn’t have such a tough time defending against it!

    - Neil
  5. 5.

    Hey-Ho the witch is dead!

    - Happy Raptor Fan
  6. 6.

    Things can only get better from here. Mitchell was the wrong fit was this team. It is the right move for a average team

    - Jeff Carter
  7. 7.

    What an egomaniacal (bleep!)shirt-collar Bryan Colangelo is!!! I am a 9 year Toronto Raptors season seat holder and I am entirely fed up with our GM’ss disastrous performance since his arrival and subsequent crowning as a saviour. What nerve he has to fire the same coach he both congratulated and resigned after winning the NBA Coach of the Year only 18 months ago!!

    Colangelo has done absolutely NOTHING to improve this team. He DID NOT draft Jose Calderon and should NOT be praised for resigning Bosh…that was a no-brainer.

    I could name all the poor and/or insignificant signings and other transactions that he is responsible for (ie. Bargnani, Kapono, Moon, Ford, Garbajosa, etc etc etc) but I won’t much more time venting. When your claim to fame is trading Raphael Araujo for Kris Humphries, you’ve got to know you’ve failed as an NBA GM.

    All I know is I am fed up with his smug attitude and team’s horrible performance. I am on the verge of cancelling my season seats and would LOVE to hear Colangelo accept responsibility for the team’s poor performance. It is UNACCEPTABLE for him to heap piles of money and praise on Sam Mitchell’s shoulders and then fire him a year and a half later!!

    If Sam Mitchell was not the right coach for this team, Colangelo should have known that a mere 8 freakin’ weeks ago…before the season started!!!

    Did Sam Mitchell suddenly forget how to coach???????


    - brento
  8. 8.

    All the best to Sam Mitchell. He did a great job taking this team to the playoffs but his tactics became old and predictable. I think every Raptor Fan either wanted this to happen or knew this was going to happen. I was watching the game with some friends yesterday and it seemed almost certain Sam would not be the coach any more.
    Eric, this was obviously not due to the resultt of the denver game, yesterdays game was just the straw that broke the camels back. Do you think BC has someone ready to step in or do you think it will be awhile before Raptors higher a new Head Coach.

    - Jee
  9. 9.

    I have hated how Sam has coached since he got here. We lost our chance last year in the playoffs because of Sam’s poor choice of players on the floor. The Raptors biggest problem is who we put on the floor and how we match up.
    My confidence is renewed in the Raptors organization.

    - mike
  10. 10.

    Hey Brento where did you learn about basketball ?? We have been looking for the last 18 months and have not found someone or Sam would not have been signed.
    Sam is terrible and has never been able to coach. He can’t manage the players and can’t compete against other coaches in the NBA. Why would you back Sam and not the Pres/GM who has a proven track record and now can bring in the right caoch for our team.

    - mike
  11. 11.

    Jay Triano is a nice guy BUT with a hall of fame assistant on the bench in the name of Alex English I can’t believe that we did not give English a try over Jay.

    - mike
  12. 12.

    bento, lets ease up a little bit. Bargnani is a solid player, obviously not a first over-all pick, but he is a serviceable player who still is getting better. Kapono is the best 3-point shooter in the NBA, its not his fault he has ZERO plays drawn up for him. Is it Bryan Colnagelo’s fault that Jamario Moon is scared to go the basket? Is it Bryan Colangelo’s fault that Jorge Garbajosa got injured, then re-injured his leg playing on it too soon?

    You need to take a step back, when Bryan Colangelo traded Fred Jones and Juan Dixon and let Delfino walk, wasn’t he admitting to his mistakes then and there? He doesn’t have to go in front of a microphone and say “I’ve made a mistake”. Go look at every GM in the league, they all make mistakes. If the Raptors were 12-5 right now, you would be praising Colangelo, calling him a genius, etc, etc. So say you’re giving up your season seats is ridiculous, but what the heck, I’ll gladly take them off your hands.

    - Happy Raptor Fan
  13. 13.

    I am Sad for Sam and Happy for Jay I have very mixed emotions about all of this. I truly enjoyed Sam Mitchell as a coach and as a person. But I am very happy for the history he will be making as the first NBA head coach.

    I honestly looked at Sam last night and thought it was over for him. I am sad that I was right.

    - James Borbath
  14. 14.

    Jay SHOULDN’T be the coach for the team for the REST of the SEASON!!! for sure!! We need Flip Saunders or Avery if we want to go to the playoffs!!!

    - Raps Fan
  15. 15.

    The new Coach of the year is Jay Triano, who will retain the current assistants.

    He will no doubt now take this team “the best talent that BC has put together in TO” on to many wins, and playoff success this year.

    - Johnn19
  16. 16.

    who to see for next raptors coach next year

    - ginomassari
  17. 17.

    I LOVE BRYAN COLANGELO !!! Thank you…Lets Go Raptors !!!

    - D12
  18. 18.

    How are the raptors suppose to play games when theres only 3 players on the team?
    Bosh, Bargnani and O’neal.
    Calderon isnt playing like last year. Maybe he’s tired from the olympics.
    Who is Will Solomon? Colengelo should’ve signed my grandma… and she’s dead.
    where’s the talent colengelo supposedely has an eye for?
    He hasnt brought in anyone decent except parker.. and he past his prime, slowing down.
    Does he really want Bosh to sign somewhere else so badly?

    - Shawn
  19. 19.

    Sam lost his magic touch. Wish him all the best but all things must come to an end. BC should not be blamed for Raptor issues. The main guy you wanna point a bat at is Richard Peddie!! Too busy worrying about those foolish Leafs and that hockey garbage!!

    Now that Jay Triano is the interm coach…let’s see where this team goes. This is a big test to find routes of the problem.

    But you also gotta realize that Rob Babcock did most of the damage. He look like a goof that didn’t know what he was doing when he wasted our pick on a “Rafael Araujo” WHAT IN THE BLUE HELL IS A RAFAEL ARAUJO?!!


    - Steven
  20. 20.

    I think this was the right decision.

    That being said, I’m glad it was made for another reason – namely Colangelo has a lot less “political capital” available to him now. Gone are the easy player scapegoats (mostly TJ) and gone is the “stupid coach”.

    If the team doesn’t perform, the buck stops with the GM now. He’s going to have to answer for failing to address the SG and SF spots. If Kapono is still useless, the “coach can’t draw him up plays” excuse is gone, etc, etc.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if the new scapegoats become Moon and “SOLOman” …. nothing like blaming 2 guys who make a combined 5% of the team salary cap for our problems, but wouldn’t put it past some people.

    - Mike
  21. 21.

    Not a good move right now and hopeing the raptors wait to sign a new head coach in the off season or later next year. Bosh’s hype may have cost Sam his job. Bargnani is now a better defender than chris bosh. We should see a blockbuster trade including bosh in the near future. BC is starting to put his stamp on this team. Sam was not in BC’s plans and neither is bosh by the way he drafted Bargs’.

    - Rob from brantford
  22. 22.

    Mike is right .. Colangelo made Sam the scapegoat for his own mediocre performance as GM

    - Chas Calz
  23. 23.

    The right move at the right time before we slip out of a playoff spot. I’m actually a bit surprised that BC didn’t waitn until after the next 3 games (like 0-3 or 1-2) and dump Sam before a better part of the schedule, although most of Dec is tough.

    I won’t miss Sam’s ego, even if it was part of his schtick.

    For all you Sam supporters, there won’t be any tag days; still has what, 7.5M to be paid. Fire me today for that kind of dough!

    Question: why just release him and not make him scout in palukaville since he’s still on the payroll???

    The proof in the pudding will be where do see Sam “coach of the year” getting another head gig in the next year??? Answer: Nowhere…

    Go Raps

    - Gary
  24. 24.

    It’s interesting to note that BC stated that roster moves were done by consensus (with him obviously having the final call) so you can’t just say “Sam wasn’t given the players” unless you believe he opposed all the BC moves in which case he wouldn’t even have lasted this long.

    Additionally, BC said when he addressed the team “there was general consensus” that something had to be done – this from the core players; and they were discussing letting Sam go.

    -doesn’t sound like there was rousing support sor Mitchell in his own locker room. I wish him well and let’s move on.

    - Gary
  25. 25.

    Sorry to see Sam the Man go! Loved his demeanor with the press and on the Fan 590 morning show. He was hillarious to say the least.

    Love all the bashers towards Colangelo. What choice did he have – none! If he sat idle you would all be screaming “fire the coach – fire the coach”! Now that he has – your screaming for his head! Who’s next on your hit lists.

    Wishing Sam all the best – he will surface somewhere else – no worries as to having enough dough to get by on anyway that’s for sure.

    The dreaded curse for most coaches in any pro league – “winning coach of the year”!


    - Bob from Burlington
  26. 26.

    Please note my comments above were not meant to support Sam Mitchell; rather, to condemn Bryan Colangelo for doing very, very little to improve this team over his tenure in Toronto.

    Sam Mitchell was, obviously, not the right pick to coach this team. However, it was Colangelo who extended Mitchell, supporting him and paying him a huge chunk of cash. By doing so, Colangelo was including Mitchell in the team’s short and long-term plans.

    Given the team’s performance over this and last season, Colangelo made a significant error in signing Mitchell. This cannot be denied. In combination with a myriad of considerably weak acquisitions (Hello Brandon Roy!!!!!!!!!), it is, in fact, Bryan Colangelo who will have played the biggest role in the departure of Chris Bosh. I cannot envision any scenario, whatsoever, that involves Chris Bosh resigning in Toronto in a year and a half.

    There will be plenty of teams and cities welcoming Chris and his immense talent. Chris Bosh should feel betrayed by Bryan Colangelo and his inability to put a solid supporting cast around him.

    As far as I’m concerned, only Jose Calderon, Kris Humphries and Bosh should be in the team’s plans for next season. I hate high player turnover, but the rest of Colangelo’s crew is very, very soft and incapable of pushing the Raptors to the NBA finals (which, by the way, MUST be the team’s objective!!!!).

    As a season seat holder, the legendary Toronto Maple Leafs vision of someday squeaking into the NHL playoffs in UNACCEPTABLE. If your team is not capable of challenging to reach the finals within 3 seasons, the GM should be rebuilding the roster.

    Thanks, guys…for letting me get off some steam :)


    - brento
  27. 27.

    Kapono should start at the 3 position without a doubt, when you have JO and Bosh inside they need to throw the ball to a catch and shoot 3 point shooters like JK and Parker. The way Bargnani is playing(good) they need to make plays for him and the only way that would happen is when he comes off the bench to give us another scoring option other than Bosh. I think if triano can make bargnani’s role similar to Ginobili’s in San Antonio, which means he doesnt start but plays significant minutes in the second and fourth quarters, and lets face it the second stringers 4 and 5s on any team can’t guard Bargnani. Another thing they need to do is cut Bosh’s minutes.

    - sand
  28. 28.

    Colangelo’s belief Raps are a lot better than their record is questionable .. We look like a .500 team to me Sam had to adjust to O’Neal and his injury .. Sam deserved at least 1/2 the season imo .. It’s a bit like the Leafs firing Quinn .. they got worse

    - Chas Calz
  29. 29.

    Jay Triano is 4-10 with the raptors, they should’ve kept sam.

    - John
  30. 30.

    Actually, no, as of today (getting set for the Clippers game) … Jay is 2-8. Not 4-10

    - E. Smith
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