Wilkens quits as vice chairman of Seattle SuperSonics

SEATTLE Sat Jul 7, 2007 1:07pm EDT

In this file photo former New York Knicks head coach Lenny Wilkens reacts after a basket by the Toronto Raptors during the first half of their NBA game in Toronto, November 24, 2004. Wilkens resigned as vice chairman of the Seattle SuperSonics on Friday, a day after P.J. Carlesimo was appointed head coach. REUTERS/Peter Jones PJ

In this file photo former New York Knicks head coach Lenny Wilkens reacts after a basket by the Toronto Raptors during the first half of their NBA game in Toronto, November 24, 2004. Wilkens resigned as vice chairman of the Seattle SuperSonics on Friday, a day after P.J. Carlesimo was appointed head coach.

Credit: Reuters/Peter Jones PJ

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SEATTLE (Reuters) - Lenny Wilkens resigned as vice chairman of the Seattle SuperSonics on Friday, a day after P.J. Carlesimo was appointed the NBA team's new head coach.

Wilkens, a former Sonics player and Hall of Fame coach with an NBA record of 1,332 coaching wins, took over as Seattle's vice chairman in November last year.

"My passion for this city and this franchise has never wavered, but I feel that my position within the organization did not develop the way that I thought it would," Wilkens said in a statement released by the Sonics.

Sonics Chairman Clay Bennett thanked Wilkens for his service to the team.

"His insight into basketball and the Sonics legacy in Seattle helped us greatly as we retooled our basketball operation," he said.

Bennett and Wilkens were in control when head coach Bob Hill was fired and General Manager Rick Sund reassigned on April 24 after the team failed to make the playoffs for the second season in a row.

Hill, who took over in the middle of the 2005-06 season, led the Sonics to a 31-51 record, their worst campaign in over 20 years. Sund will remain with the team as a consultant for the remaining year of his contract.

Carlesimo, an assistant with NBA champions San Antonio Spurs the last five seasons, was appointed head coach on Thursday.

(Writing by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles)

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