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Bucks to introduce new coach at news conference

MILWAUKEE -- Terry Stotts got the job he first sought two
years ago.
The Milwaukee Bucks hired Stotts as their new head coach Friday
after growing tired of waiting for leading candidate Flip Saunders,
who is apparently keeping his sights on the Pistons' coaching job
should Larry Brown leave Detroit.
The 47-year-old Stotts, whose deal includes three guaranteed
years and club options for two more, replaces Terry Porter, the man
who beat him out for the job two summers ago.
"If you'd asked me two years ago, I really did want the job,
but it's so much sweeter this way, and I think it's a better
situation," Stotts said. "I think the Bucks are getting a better
coach now than they would have gotten two years ago. ... The team
is a better team.
"Life's kind of funny, but I think it's worked out better for
the Bucks and it's certainly worked out best for me."
Porter was unexpectedly fired June 22, just days before
Milwaukee chose Andrew Bogut with the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft
and six weeks after general manager Larry Harris had declared
Porter would return next season.
Harris said he wanted somebody with more experience coaching
young players. Stotts actually has less head-coaching experience
than Porter's two years. He coached the Atlanta Hawks for 1½
seasons after serving under George Karl as an assistant for nine
years, including four in Milwaukee, from 1998-2002.
With a middling roster, Stotts, who was an assistant with the
Golden State Warriors last season, went 52-85 in Atlanta after
replacing Lon Kruger in 2002-03.
"Obviously, we will miss him," said Chris Mullin, the Warriors
executive vice president of basketball operations. "Terry deserves
this opportunity and will do an outstanding job. We wish him
well."
Porter went 71-93 in Milwaukee, reaching the playoffs in his
first season but slipping to 30-52 last year when injuries and
trades prevented him from putting together a cohesive lineup.
After the Bucks fired Porter and ate his $1.5 million salary,
attention immediately focused on Saunders, who is due $5.5 million
from the Minnesota Timberwolves next season, and eight-year NBA
coaching veteran Doug Collins, who decided instead to stay in his
television analyst job.
Both Harris and team owner Herb Kohl said it was a mistake to
think the Bucks settled on Stotts.
"He is in Milwaukee well-known, well-liked and
well-respected," Kohl said.
And Harris said that "in NBA circles, Terry Stotts has a
name."
"What he went through in Atlanta will make him a better coach
today, tomorrow and next year and for many years to come," Harris
added. "So we didn't settle. I didn't settle. We chose the right
guy. Just be patient."
Kohl added, "Vince Lombardi was a complete unknown when he was
hired."
Stotts went 2-0 while filling in for Karl in Milwaukee in
December 2001. Former Bucks stars Glenn Robinson, Sam Cassell and
Ray Allen appreciated his low-key approach that contrasted sharply
with Karl's sometimes combative coaching style.
Stotts also got along well with Michael Redd, the prized free
agent guard who announced Thursday he would stay in Milwaukee and
sign a six-year deal worth at least $90 million.
Stotts inherits a much more talented roster than the one he
would have gotten two years ago.
In addition to Redd and Bogut, he'll have starting forwards
Desmond Mason and Joe Smith and possibly point guard T.J. Ford, who
was cleared for full contact basketball last month after missing
the last 1½ seasons with a spinal injury.
Stotts' ties to Milwaukee go deeper than his previous stint with
the Bucks.
He spent part of his childhood in Wisconsin and said the first
NBA game he attended was when his dad took him to a Bucks game in
1969.
"It means a lot to come back."