Wolves Fire Casey

Man, talk about a turbulent week: I just got off the phone with a Star Tribune reporter regarding my thoughts on the resignation of CP Editor Steve Perry and get word that the Wolves have fired Dwane Casey.

I've always believed that when someone dies or gets fired or otherwise meets with an unkind fate, it's better to grant them your respect via an honest appraisal rather than a rose-colored distortion. I have recently been critical of the way Coach Casey handled the Ricky Davis situation Friday night, and can't help but wonder if his behavior was related to the extreme job pressure he was under, or if the way he dealt with it contributed to his firing. Either way, Casey was not a particularly adept head coach during his short stint with the Wolves, for many reasons I have described in the past.

But I have also consistently said that as a human being, Dwane Casey is a class act, a man of enormous personal dignity. Last year, when I was criticizing his job performance on a fairly regular basis, he saw me standing on a streetcorner during a snowstorm, waiting for the light to change, and rolled down his window and asked if I needed a ride. So, no, I'm not going to sugar-coat his deficiencies as a coach, but I'm also not going to denigrate the way he represented himself and the organization for most of his tenure.

I'll close for now by mentioning that I think Casey has gotten a team with .500 personnel to play .500 basketball. For them to be better than that, Ricky Davis will have to grow up, Mike James will have to rediscover his self-confidence, and the rookies who profited under Casey's guidance, Rashad McCants and Randy Foye, will have to continue developing at warp speed. I'm not sure Randy Wittman will make a huge difference in any of those areas.

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