Eddie Jordan was fired as coach of the Washington Wizards on Monday after opening the season 1-10 without injured starters Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood.
The Wizards' record matches the worst start in franchise history; the only other time the team was 1-10 was in 1966, when it was called the Baltimore Bullets. The final straw for Jordan appears to have been a 122-117 loss Saturday night to the undermanned New York Knicks, who had only seven players available.
"Our 1-10 record is not acceptable and, more importantly, the way we have lost those games is not acceptable," Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld said. "We felt as an organization that it was time to make a change and we're looking forward to the team moving in a positive direction."
The team said it fired Jordan Monday morning. However, Jordan did not seem to be aware of the decision as he took part in NBC4's Food 4 Families food drive at the Verizon Center.
Ed Tapscott, the Wizards' director of player development, took over for Jordan on an interim basis, running his first practice as the new coach Monday morning.
Tapscott never has been an NBA head coach, although he has plenty of front-office experience, including as president and chief operating officer of the Charlotte Bobcats and, before that, as vice president of player personnel and basketball operations for the Knicks in the 1990s.
Associate head coach Mike O'Koren also was fired Monday.
Jordan was in his sixth season with the Wizards and led the team to the playoffs each of the past four -- the longest postseason streak for a Washington coach since Dick Motta did it from 1976-80. Under Jordan, though, the team made it past the first round only once.
In September, shortly before the start of training camp, the Wizards picked up a one-year option to keep Jordan under contract through the 2009-10 season. That, along with the injury-depleted roster, were reasons Jordan's job was thought to be safe -- and why Monday's move came as something of a surprise, despite the team's record.
He leaves as the Eastern Conference's longest-tenured coach and No. 3 in the NBA behind Jerry Sloan of the Utah Jazz and Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs.
"This was an extremely difficult decision because I'm personally very fond of Eddie," Wizards owner Abe Pollin said in a statement released by the team. "He helped bring our franchise back to the playoffs. ... I will forever be grateful for his dedication and hard work. However, sometimes circumstances force changes. Our team is not performing to my expectations and I felt it was time to make a change."
Jordan came into this season with a 196-214 mark with the Wizards, but that included a rebuilding 25-57 record in his first season. Since then -- with a fast-paced offense built around Arenas and also featuring All-Star forwards Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler -- Jordan helped turn the Wizards around.
He was the East's coach at the 2007 All-Star game.
But the Wizards have struggled to even be competitive at times this season, with Arenas recovering from his third operation on his left knee in 1 1/2 years, and with Haywood out for perhaps the entire season after surgery on his shooting wrist.
Washington opened 0-5, then beat the Jazz at home to avoid the first 0-6 start in franchise history. That victory, though, was followed by another five-game losing streak.
The only NBA team with a worse record is the Oklahoma City Thunder, which is 1-13 and fired coach P.J. Carlesimo over the weekend.
Tapscott's debut will come Tuesday night, when Washington hosts the Golden State Warriors.
He joined the Wizards' front office in August 2007 after spending a year as an analyst for the team's television broadcasts. He was fired in 2006 by the Bobcats.
Tapscott was an assistant to current Maryland coach Gary Williams at American University in the 1970s and became head coach in 1982. In eight seasons at AU, Tapscott finished with 119 victories.