We leave you with a few words from coach Randy Wittman, who deftly, and sometimes humorously, deflected all questions about his future with the team, and evaluated his performance after taking over for Flip Saunders in January.
“There’s always things as a coach you look back and you wish you maybe would have done something differently, that’s coaching. And you learn from those things.”
“Anytime you take over in the middle of the season its a challenge. I hate it. Don’t’ ever want to do it again. Its just… there so many different things in trying to…obviously if there’s a change, things aren’t going well. Now you’re trying to figure out how you’re going to change whats not going well when you were part of it. That’s hard to do.”
“Everybody’s got different philosophies, being able to change that’s hard to do on the fly, so I’m mean it’s a combination of things it’s hard to sit here and tell you one thing that made it difficult, but those are the things that make it so hard when there’s a change in the middle of the year.”
“Obviously when you’re not in the playoff hunt, you’ve got to create a playoff hunt. We did that different little things and trying to get to different plateaus by a certain date. Giving them little things of that nature.”
“How are we going to respond? I couldn’t have been more proud. And it’s hard. I’ve been on many teams coming down the stretch and you’re like, uh, let’s get this season over with and get out of here. But these guys didn’t do that and I challenged them to finish this the best way we can, so that going into the next year, you have a pretty decent taste in your mouth.”
“That [ the six game winning streak to end the season] helped. I told them that. You guys are trying to prove not only to me, but management or ownership here, what you can do or can’t do. You’re proving it to a lot of people in the league, can you do it or not.”
“I approach it like I’m the coach now. I met with all my players here today and I’m going to wrap up my files and do the things I normally do at the end of the season and I’ll continue to plan until they tell me to go home. That’s kind of what coaches do. I go into any job, do the best job I can, make sure my team is prepared. Make sure they play hard and the chips fall where they may after that.”