Yes! Another writer makes a case for the Hawks to hire Casey

I’ve felt like the Lone Ranger on this one. I’m convinced Dwane Casey would be a fine hire for the Hawks, but few seem to agree. You say, “What has he ever done?” You say, “Why get a guy who lasted only a season and a half as head coach in Minnesota?”

And I understand, to a degree. Casey isn’t on TV talking, the way Avery Johnson and Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy are. (No, Casey actually has a job coaching.) He’s not a big name. He’s just a really smart basketball man who has a great way with people, and if that’s not the essence of head-coaching material I don’t know what is.

But you folks don’t know him, and you haven’t heard him talk about the game and seen him relate to people. I have. (I’ve known him for 25 years.) And I fault myself for not crafting my message better. So maybe I should let someone else deliver it.

On cue, here’s Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo! Sports and the blog Ball Don’t Lie. And here’s what Dwyer has to say about Casey:

Dwane Casey is not just another retread. [He] can actually coach.  [If] he Atlanta Hawks make him their next sideline stalker, general manager Rick Sund may have found an answer for the blasé attitude that permeated the Hawk locker room more times than not during Mike Woodson’s tenure.

But wait. Dwyer is only warming up. That half-season when Casey was dumped by the Timberwolves? When president Kevin McHale and GM Kevin Taylor dumped him with a 20-20 record? That was actually coaching at its best. Writes Dwyer:

He put the Wolves in the playoff hunt midway through the season with a lineup built around Kevin Garnett that should have been in the Greg Oden [meaning the NBA lottery] hunt. The Kentucky product and one-time-understudy-to-many had the Wolves overachieving, and working hard on both ends. And for Taylor, it wasn’t enough. It should have been.

For Hawks fans, and especially Hawks players? This guy is enough.

This guy is more than enough. He’s game matched with smarts and doubled up with focus. Plays, and the inspiration to want to run those plays. You will want to execute. And in a locker room that was poisoned by a coaching staff that gave up once spring hit (why wouldn’t it? Woodson heard the rumors, and the Hawks lamed his duck months ago), Casey is exactly what the Hawks need.

There’s much more, and I encourage you to read Dwyer’s article in its terrific totality. Because I’ve been trying to make the same arguments for a while now, and I’m not seeing much fruit from these labors. But I’m encouraged to know I’m not a lone voice crying in the wilderness. At the very least, there are two of us.

And if the Hawks do hire Dwane Casey, there’ll be more. Anyone who hears him speak at the introductory press conference will say, “Know what? This guy’s got it.” Trust me on this.

And if you don’t trust me, trust Kelly Dwyer.

93 comments Add your comment


May 26th, 2010
4:30 am

I think they have found their man in Casey


May 26th, 2010
4:31 am

Good things were said about Woody before he got here so of course we are gonna hear the same about wait what’s his name again? Exactly. I don’t trust our owners Sund nor this yahoo writer but I do trust you Mr. Bradley so…….I endorse Casey….shrug… First


May 26th, 2010
4:35 am

Second I meant. Irony is my first name steve last name gilley so I was still first hahaha

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley, Gilley. Gilley said: /via @MarkBradleyAJC <….Casey's biggest fan!! [...]

Some Sense

May 26th, 2010
5:12 am

hawks fan

May 26th, 2010
5:35 am

I assume without even checking that Casey has a Kentucky connection if MB is high on him. MB would hire bin Laden if he ever coached or played in Lexington.


May 26th, 2010
5:42 am

If I had three choices right now, Casey would still be #3 on that list. Let’s give a person who has experienced more success on this level first. Winning breeds winning, being average breeds being average, and so on. Sund has never won as a GM but he will put together a good team. I fear Casey is the same. Just look at Orlando now. A good team that is simply being outcoached to some degree. We don’t want Dallas of the 80’s or Seattle of the 90’s. Let us raise our level of expectation and imagination. Let us stop low-baling ourselves in this town by going for the best, lowest common denominator.


May 26th, 2010
5:46 am

idk ithink we should hire phil jackson, sign d-wade,lebron, and bosh, trade bibby straight up for cp3 and bring back mt. mutombo! that will be a nice start!


May 26th, 2010
5:52 am

There’s no ‘y’ in Dwane, so I will not question your judgment, Mark. :lol:


May 26th, 2010
6:01 am

My last name is Comments, so I was really 1st.


May 26th, 2010
6:29 am

Well then I am one of the few.

Vinny D

May 26th, 2010
7:33 am

20-20 in the west with that roster is pretty impressive.

Big Ray

May 26th, 2010
7:38 am

Mark ,

Old Testament references? I like. ;)

I’m becoming more sold on Casey by the day, despite the by and large opinion here in blogdome. People do tend to despise what they think they know, or what appears to be status quo.

As for the person comparing this to the advent of Woodson, we’ve seen Casey do things as a HEAD COACH. Woody was hyped as the next great thing in the ASSISTANT COACH ranks. Kinda like a draft lottery prospect: he’s got all the potentia, but ain’t done sh!*& yet….

Big difference between the two.


May 26th, 2010
7:41 am

casey would be a good hire. so would avery. a coach that is a motivator is what we need. casey would more than likely cost much less than johnson, thus leaving us more room for a f/a. i mean, whoever thought van gundy was a good hire in orlando? look how that’s turned out. you never know where the next hot coach is gonna come from. who knows where avery johnson was before his dallas maverick days? who in their right mind would’ve thought he’d be a good coach? and if he was soooooo good, why did he get canned?


May 26th, 2010
7:46 am

Gilly, While similar things may be said about any head coaching PROSPECT, especially one who rode the defensive coat tails of Larry Brown, Casey is not JUST a coaching prospect as demonstrated by his making a team of horrible parts play better than the sum of their parts. He got canned for it, but McHale didn’t do one thing right in Minny. Casey is no Woody whatever his faults are. In this class of coaching candidates there aren’t any without faults.


May 26th, 2010
7:56 am

Mark, It took me a while to figure your love fest with Casey, but know my genius mind made the connection…he’s an old Kentucky dude. Look there’s nothing wrong with the Kentucky thing (my wife who was born & raised in KY would certainly support your logic).

Not Sold

May 26th, 2010
7:57 am

What about this guy’s ethics and background as a cheater in college? There’s no NCAA on patrol in the NBA, but is this not revealing of something? Is this to be completely ignored? I’d think the Hawks would want to hire a guy who believes in doing things the right way, no matter the level of play.


May 26th, 2010
8:05 am


We all make mistakes in life..shouldnt hold EVERYTHING over someones head.


May 26th, 2010
8:15 am

Casey very well could be the best man for the job which means he probably won’t get it . My opinion is based on years and years of following the Hawks . How many times have they made the right choice.
and Doc Rivers may be available in a week or so. do you think sund may be waiting on the celtics season to end before he makes an offer ?

F-105 Thunderchief

May 26th, 2010
8:18 am

I’m not sold on Casey, mainly because I don’t know that much about him. Same with Johnson. I watched him play and know his team made the finals, where it took a swan dive and then there were early playoff exits after that. So, I guess I have an open mind on whoever the new coach is. I have to wait and see. I’m just glad Billy and Woody are gone. Shelden and Marvin … geez. Speedy. Has to get better, right?

F-105 Thunderchief

May 26th, 2010
8:19 am

Oh, and I looked it up … Billy Cunningham is just 66 if Sund wants to give him a call. Man, that guy was good. ;)


May 26th, 2010
8:25 am

Well, Mo and Larry have chimed in on Casey’s behalf. Now we just need to get Curly’s opinion.


May 26th, 2010
8:25 am

Casey played college basketball at the University of Kentucky between 1975 and 1979. While he served as an assistant coach there, Emery Worldwide employees discovered $1,000 in cash in an envelope mailed by Casey to recruit Chris Mills.[1] The resulting scandal contributed to head coach Eddie Sutton’s resignation and Mills’ transfer to the University of Arizona. Does this make anybody wander about this guys character? How bout it BRADLEY?

Also, Casey’s overall record at Minnesota was 53-69 and he did have Kevin garnett. Maybe he was fired because of some behind the scenes stuff that we don’t know about. If he is such a super assitant why hasn’t he got another chance at a head coaching job? He was fired over three years ago by the Wolves.

Bradley, what makes you think this yahoo writer is such an authority on basketball matters. Until you mentioned this name in the article I had never heard of this person. If someone like ESPN analyst Jalen Rose had said this then I would take notice, but this yahoo from yahoo? Not so much.

Nite Owl

May 26th, 2010
8:27 am

(1) Will he have total command of the locker room and the respect and full attention of the players?

(2) Can he create the right roles for his players and get them to commit to those roles?

(3) Does he know substitution patterns and how to encourage young talent?

(4) Can he prepare game plans and make in-game adjustments?

Haven’t heard if he can do any of these things. And I would be more impressed if he was .500 for the Timberwolves WITHOUT Garnett.

But he may also be the best of a horrible crop of coaches.


May 26th, 2010
8:31 am

I agree MsDee, if we compare candidates to one another in any setting, you’re basically evaluating someone based on what they have or haven’t been caught doing. Everyone makes mistakes. One slip up doesn’t make the guy morally corrupt.


May 26th, 2010
8:34 am

Mark, what time do you wake up? Sometimes you post at midnight. Then, you post at 0400, anyway. I prefer Rev. Avery Johnson. I’m not completely sold on Casey. He didn’t get a fair look in Minnesota. However, what has he done in Dallas to make one think that he can elevate the Hawks to another level.


May 26th, 2010
8:35 am

I think the key word in the Dwyer quotes was ‘retread’. Clearly Casey’s coaching stint was cut short by short-sighted management. Avery and most of the others that get hired year after year have all had longer tenures and were ‘dumped’ when it was clear to their management that they weren’t the ‘man for the job’. This Casey guy sounds like a breath of fresh air, and although he’s gonna need more than ‘fresh air’ to ‘air-out’ the Hawks’ locker room from the stench that the Josh Smith’s and the Joe Johnson’s have left behind – can you imagine what a ‘real’ coach would have done when he found out that his players had hired a limo to take them to Chicago for a night out before a playoff game instead of having a good meal (you can get those in Milwaukee you know) going to bed and concentrating on the task at hand? – and if Casey can deliver that leadership, along with the basketball stuff, then I’m all for him.

Mr. Phil

May 26th, 2010
8:38 am

Sorry Mark,

Still not sold.

Regardless of what you say about the Wolves’ talent level at the time, you gotta give KG some credit as a motivational teammate and floor general. Everybody who has played with Garnett has pointed to him as the emotional leader. So if your argument for Casey is based largely on his motivational skills, can it.

Casey has yet to motivate a team without a floor leader. Lets we forget, the Hawks don’t have one.

Further, I have found (with very little effort) plenty of sources who will say his offensive play calling, substitution patterns, and in game adjustments strategies leave something to be desired.

So again- sorry MB, but I am not sold yet. I am not against, just not convinced. No matter what any Yahoo! has to say.


May 26th, 2010
8:41 am

Oh well. that changes everything. If Kelly Dwyer(who?) gives him the seal of approval then how could I argue. MB. do you have a man crush on this guy or something. I can read the story now the day the hawks fire this guy…” I was never really comfortable with casey…yada yada yada. The proof is in the pudding, If the guy was the second coming of Red Auerbach he wouldnt have a losing record.


May 26th, 2010
8:50 am

He sounds pretty good. Im not sold on a “Big” Name, I just would like for us to hire a compotent coach, one that will demand his players play hard, one who actually has a game plan and when that plan needs to be tinkered with to make adjustments, he can actually make those adjustments and keep his players on board. If that is Casey so be it, I don’t come to watch the coach actually coach but it will comforting to go and see the game and watch our players play and be able to have the peace of mind in witnessing that we can clearly see the COACH is actually doing his job. A name is merely a name, its the man behind the name that brings the fame and respect to his name. So all those people that want the big names think about that.


May 26th, 2010
8:59 am

mark, why am i not shock to read where you want to hire casey over avery johnson?because you love mediocrity when it comes to would love to see cleveland hire avery johnson, then beat the hawks eyes out with him, then you will be the first to print a negative article about how bad dwayne casey is.thats just your style.

Mr. Phil

May 26th, 2010
9:03 am


Mark did you actually read this article?

It does not read to me like a case for Casey as much as a case for blowing up the roster.

“Casey is exactly what the Hawks need…Casey can make this work. Not championship-work, the ceiling is too low for this roster, but he will have the Hawks working, should they pull the trigger.”

“And its players? They have to treat this guy as the last chance. Because as young as Horford and Smith are, this is their last chance with this unit.”

If this is the last chance with this unit and the ceiling is too low for them to sniff at a championship, then what are we really doing?

If we are not trying to win a championship,what is the point?

Do you really want your friend (I assume he is a friend if you have known him 25 years) walking into a situation where there is no hope to win it all and we are on the verge of blowing up the whole thing?

Based on this article, the Hawks are just around the corner from full rebuilding mode. So Casey no matter how good, would just be a new captain for a sinking ship.

Are we just trying to be entertaining, or are we trying to win the whole thing?

As a life long Hawk fan, scrappy does not cut it for me anymore. Based on Dwyer’s article, that is what I can expect to get. So if the Hawks hire Casey and don’t make any significant roster changes- tell ASG to count me and my checkbook out. I will checkin when it is time to hire the next-next coach.


May 26th, 2010
9:09 am


I’ve become disappointed in your consistent pandering for Dwane Casey to be Hawks coach. At least now I know why you’re behind him – he’s your friend and you’ve known him for 25 years. Sure, that makes him a good guy and I’ll buy that. But, if you’re wondering why the rest of Atlanta won’t hop on the same bandwagon you’re on, it’s because it’s the only argument you’ve made for him being the head coach – “he’s a good guy.”

I assume that Tom Thibodeau, Avery Johnson, Byron Scott and even Woody are good guys. What you haven’t discussed is why Dwane Casey is the favorite even though his current team, the Dallas Mavericks, are perennial underachievers – even with much better talent than the Hawks. Dirk is better than Josh – Kidd is better than Bibby,- Jason Terry is comparable to Crawford, etc.

I would rather have a coach that has been a proven winner or would bring a discipline to skill positions that the Hawks underachieve at. Avery Johnson or Tom Thibodeau have proven that they can work with young guards like Terry and Rondo, respectively, and turn them into superstars. Thibodeau is also a winner that preaches defense – just like Woody was in Detroit. And I know Woody added a lot to this team; he just couldn’t take them any further.

So, unless you can show that Dwane has worked to develop a star guard and can do the same for Teague and Joe’s replacement. Or talk about how he will enhance the low post game of Josh and Al, please get off of that bandwagon and help bring a coach to Atlanta that we can all be proud of – because of his skill set and track record – and not just because “he’s a good guy.”

Go Hawks

May 26th, 2010
9:17 am

I’ve been following Casey since his Seattle days, he is the real deal! Not only a good offensive coach, but good defensive coach as well. Casey is what the Hawks need!

Mr. Phil

May 26th, 2010
9:23 am


I agree totally. Everybody wants to see Casey get another chance because of what happened in Minnesota. Granted the Wolves owner was (and as far as I can tell still is) an idiot and Mchale was not much better as a GM. But getting hosed in Minnesota is not an argument for getting the job in Atlanta.

In fact, I don’t particularly care to hear any names for the coaching job with the Hawks. All I want to hear are plans. What are the plans for using the players we have -or can easily acquire- to win a title. Period.

Let’s set aside everything that has happened in the past for Avery Johnson, Dwayne Casey, or {insert coaching candidate here}. I don’t care who the names are. What I care about is how realistic the plan is and can it be executed. If Sund truly believes that Casey’s plan is better than anybody else’s then fine. But if he hires him because of a previous relationship in Seattle, on the fact that he is a nice guy and has a 25 year relationship with some writer, or because he got hosed in Minnesota we should all turn our backs on this regime.


May 26th, 2010
9:32 am

If we are going to only consider Ex-kentucky coaches who are friends with Bradley then I propose Tubby Smith. I still would like Rick Pitino myself but it looks like we are not considering any white coaches

Lowcountry Bulldawg

May 26th, 2010
9:35 am

How can anyone say Woodson gave up once the spring hit? That is completly ridiculous. The man is a professional coach in the NBA. Woodson knew he also was going to be a Free Agent at years end, so one would think he would coach his tail off to impress if not the Atlanta ownership then another NBA front office into hiring him.

If this is part of the logic the writer uses to describe the final months of Woodson’s tenure, then I simply cannot find this a credible source for why they should hire Casey.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

May 26th, 2010
9:40 am


The writers speaks of how Woodson stopped trying in the Spring? Really? The man is a Professional NBA coach. He knew he also was a Free Agent at years end. If the Hawks would not look to resign him then perhaps one of the other teams looking for a top man would, so why would he just lay down then? That is a ridiculous statement.

If this is the logic the writer uses then Casey obviously isn ot the right choice.


May 26th, 2010
9:41 am

Out of all the candidates, Casey makes the most basketball sense. We need a technician and a motivator. I say pull the trigger and get him in here to start planning for next season. Good article Mark.


May 26th, 2010
9:44 am

Mark agree. Look at Falcons, they hired Smith and everyone was “bitching”. But look now at the job Coach Smith has done. I say give Casey the job and see what happens. I believe everyone will be happy.(can’t get worse) Go Hawks!

Smiling Jack

May 26th, 2010
9:47 am

I’m just glad that I’m not Rick Sund!!!! However, it seems Blogdome is filled with Sund wannabes. I would like to see Atlanta Hawks be a great team winning championships. That level is so difficult to achieve. So few organizations have achieved that status…Celtics…Bulls with Jordon…Lakers. The Hawks probably will never be great. It starts at the top with ownership.

Smiling Jack

May 26th, 2010
9:48 am

Keep on smiling, however!!!


May 26th, 2010
9:52 am

Not much to pick from!

Old Hawks Fan

May 26th, 2010
9:58 am

If Sund think Casey is the answer for this hawks team………………make the hire. Do it today and let’s look at the needs for the up-coming season. Whether Philly made the wrong decision on hiring Doug Collins, the GM there did not drag it out as it is being done here in atlanta. Hire Casey Rick Sund if you think he is the guy to get this team better and fighting for an nba championship. Or do the safe thing and hire Avery Johnson, Bill Lambeer, Ty Corbin, Mark Jackson or Pat Ewing.

Stat Man

May 26th, 2010
10:00 am

Bring back the old green & blue “maravich era” uni’s – that’s the ticket! Get the opponents on the verge of throwing up looking at those things all night.


May 26th, 2010
10:01 am

hey anybody else think the celtics are going to lose to the magic , I do
man wouldn’t the NBA powers hate to have a suns/magic finals

Wanted: True Center

May 26th, 2010
10:05 am

Can someone please give updates on what the hawks are thinking as far as the draft goes… after reading several articles i think we would be dumb not to trade up and get Hassan Whiteside who has been WORKING WITH(cough patrick ewing and dwight) and modeling his game after Hakeem Olajuwon. If all else fails please just snag solomon adibi of FSU and hire a REAL big man coach to develop his game.

Dominique Wilkins

May 26th, 2010
10:07 am

But Jeff Schultz have said otherwise.

The Tone

May 26th, 2010
10:11 am

lets just wait until the first preseason game of next year and hire a fan out of the nosebleed section to coach the hawks. Let Dominique run the team until then .

Not Sold

May 26th, 2010
10:19 am

There are rumblings in Boston that Doc Rivers will want to look at things after the season, and one reason stated was having a daughter about to finish school in Atlanta. If the man with rich, deep roots to Atlanta and the Hawks would even listen to the Hawks, then Sund must wait for the Celtics’ season to end before making any move. There’s absolutely no reason to rush after Casey if there’s even one chance in 100 that Rivers might be approachable. If the Hawks could hire Rivers, then that’s certainly a slam dunk that wouldn’t require validation from Yahoo! or anyone else.