It’s far from the dazzle of Michael Jordan or Jaromír Jágr, or even the marketing buzz of Midnight Madness or red carpets and police escorts for the 2010 No. 1 Draft Pick — all past pursuits of Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis.
It’s just Randy Wittman returning as head coach. The team officially announced the moderately-anticipated news on Monday. The press conference received maybe 30-percent the media fanfare that a bigger name coach (like a Jerry Sloan, a Stan Van Gundy, a Nate McMillan, or a Mike D’Antoni) would have garnered. It was poker faces slow-playing low expectations.
Familiarity is the opposite of the buzz that budding pro sports owner Leonsis became associated with; now more familiar with the institution, dealing with realities such as economics, the choice of Wittman to helm his team’s hardwood action flies well below the radar. Familiarity is now one of the talking points of Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld when going over the merits of just the second head coach he’s hired during a nine-year tenure in D.C.
Actually, management has made it clear that Wittman, and staff, were already under contract. Grunfeld’s only new hire has been Flip Saunders.