Monday, May 7, 2007 Updated: May 8, 5:04 PM ET
Van Gundy surprised by reports of his departure
HOUSTON -- Houston Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy dismissed a
rumor Monday that he's going to retire or quit any time soon. But
he also said he would take some time to evaluate his future.
Van Gundy's Coaching Record
Jeff Van Gundy is 430-318 in coaching stints in New York and Houston. He has a 44-44 record in the postseason.
The Rockets' season ended in Saturday's Game 7 loss to Utah, and
a report in Sunday's New York Post said Van Gundy was going to
"I do the same thing every year since I've been coaching -- I
sit back and I think about what's right for the team and what's
right for myself," he said. "This is no different."
Van Gundy said he had no immediate plans to make a major
"To do that, when I'm still emotionally frustrated with the
outcome [of the series] would be, really, a disservice to everybody
involved," he said. "Where that originated, I haven't seen the
story, so I can't tell you. When I got called about it, it caught
me off-guard a little bit."
Van Gundy has one year left on his non-guaranteed contract,
meaning the Rockets have the right to terminate it any time after
June 30. Van Gundy said he had no specific timetable for meeting
with Rockets owner Les Alexander to discuss it.
"To me, I'm under contract, I love the team, I like the
organization a lot, I've been treated extremely well here. I have
Van Gundy met with his players for about 15 minutes Monday
Afterward, Tracy McGrady reiterated his support for Van Gundy,
calling him "the best coach I ever played for." But McGrady
offered no insight into whether Van Gundy addressed his future
during the meeting.
"As far as I'm concerned, he's still our coach and that's all I
can give you," said McGrady, who added that Van Gundy told the
players during the meeting he'd be talking with them individually
over the summer.
Van Gundy repeatedly chastised himself Monday for losing
Saturday's game and three other home playoff games in his four
seasons as the Rockets' coach -- to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 4
in 2004 and twice to Dallas in 2005.
Van Gundy expected those losses to come up when he sat down with
Alexander and new general manager Daryl Morey, the successor to
retiring Carroll Dawson.
"This is a result-oriented business," Van Gundy said. "I have
to take responsibility. Those four home playoff losses -- I'm not
saying you're going to win them all. But if you're management, you
have to look at that, certainly."
The Rockets haven't won a playoff series since 1997, and Van
Gundy has lost their last three. He's had Yao Ming for all three
series and Yao and McGrady for the last two.
"Mac and Yao, they are great best players to coach. They want
to work, they want to win," Van Gundy said. "I'm disappointed
that I haven't been able to help, not just those two, but the whole
group get over the hump in that first round. That's where my
emotion is right now."
The Rockets went 52-30 this season, their best record since
1997. Van Gundy said the franchise has "made strides forward,"
but needs to make offseason changes to compete with the elite in
the Western Conference. He wouldn't specify what those changes
"We're a really good regular-season team," he said. "What we
have to decide is whether that can translate into playoff success.
Something's got to change, so we can get more playoff success."
Van Gundy, a former assistant to Pat Riley and Don Nelson,
coached New York for six seasons, then quit when the Knicks started
10-9 in 2001-02. He spent the next year working in television
before becoming Houston's coach before the 2003-04 season.