With their NBA season less than a week from being over, the Charlotte Bobcats announced on Tuesday that they have fired Mike Dunlap after one season as head coach.
The search for Dunlap's replacement will start immediately.
“Rich Cho and I conducted our season-ending review and met with coach Dunlap to reflect on this season," said Charlotte Bobcats President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins. "As an organization, it was decided that we needed to make a change with the head coach position. We want to thank Mike for his contribution and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
Dunlap was hired on June 20, 2012 as the fifth head coach in franchise history — joining Bernie Bickerstaff (2004-07), Sam Vincent (2007-08), Larry Brown (2008-10) and Paul Silas (2010-12).
The Bobcats made a 14-game improvement under Dunlap from 2011-12, finishing this 2012-13 season with a 21-61 record.
This progress all comes one season after Charlotte went an NBA worst 7-59 — setting the league's record for lowest win percentage (.106).
“The improvement was unbelievable," Dunlap said after this past Wednesday's 103-98 win against Cleveland. "I don’t have to sell it. The facts are the facts. The young guys just got better and better and that goes beyond question. There was an exciting brand of basketball coming down the back stretch. Some of the pain that we had early paid off later and it feels good.”
Dunlap went out a winner with Charlotte come away victorious against the Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers in the final three games of the season (all at home).
Dunlap is one of four NBA coaches to lose their jobs since the season ended. Cavaliers coach Byron Scott and Detroit Pistons coach Lawrence Frank were both fired on April 18.
That same day, Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins resigned after three seasons as coach, but remained with the team as an adviser.