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Suns Coach Danny Ainge Resigns

December 13, 1999 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) _ Phoenix Suns coach Danny Ainge resigned for personal reasons, the team said today.

He informed the team on Sunday night, and Suns chairman Jerry Colangelo said the resignation had nothing to do with Ainge’s job performance.

Ainge will be replaced by assistant coach Scott Skiles, who has been Ainge’s top assistant for three years. Skiles played in the NBA for 10 years at Milwaukee, Indiana, Orlando, Washington and Philadelphia.

Skiles, 35, was a candidate for the head coaching job in Orlando during the offseason.

Skiles started in the backcourt with Penny Hardaway early in Hardaway’s career. Hardaway now plays for the Suns.

The move by Ainge was highly unexpected, with Phoenix 13-7 this season and featuring one of the league’s best backcourts in Jason Kidd and Hardaway.

Hardaway was acquired in the offseason from Orlando but has not played the last four games because of a sore left foot.

Ainge’s record in just more than three seasons as coach was 136-90, including 56-26 in 1997-98. However, the team was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs all three years.

Ainge spent 14 years in the NBA, playing on championship teams with Boston in 1984 and 1986. His played his final three seasons with the Suns.

He was hired as an assistant to Cotton Fitzsimmons in 1996, and held that job just six months. When the Suns started the season at 0-8, Ainge replaced Fitzsimmons.