Wizards fire Wittman

The Washington Wizards have parted ways with head coach Randy Wittman after they missed out on a spot in the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.

The Wizards finished three games behind the Detroit Pistons, who clinched the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

As a result, Wittman has paid the highest price for failing to meet expectations this season.

“There were high internal and external expectations for this team coming into this season based on the momentum we had generated over the previous two years,” Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, the inconsistency of the team’s performance and effort, particularly on our home court, did not allow us to meet those expectations and we decided a coaching change was needed.

“We were very inconsistent this year. That was probably the only consistent thing about us. We’d go up and down and there was no sense of urgency. I don’t think we played with the type of energy on a nightly basis that you need to, to achieve the type of goals that we had. We had high expectations, internally and externally.

“Randy should be commended for the job he did in taking over as head coach during a very difficult time for our franchise and for helping to establish a culture and identity that led to success. This was a very tough decision on a personal level, and we wish Randy and his family the best moving forward.”

Wittman was informed that he would be sacked after the Wizards ended their season with a 109-98 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.

Overall, the 56-year-old finished with a record of 178-199, giving him a 47.2 winning percentage, since being appointed the Wizards’ head coach in June 2012.

“I would like to express my gratitude to Ted Leonsis and Ernie Grunfeld for allowing me the opportunity to serve as the head coach of the Washington Wizards for the past five seasons,” Wittman said in a statement. “It has been a privilege to work alongside a loyal and dedicated coaching staff and group of players, and I wish everyone in the organization nothing but the best moving forward.

“To the Wizards front office and staff, I am incredibly grateful for the devotion and commitment that you have shown this team. Without you, we would not have had the success that we did over the last five years, including two trips to the playoffs and our first back-to-back winning seasons since 2004-05 and 2005-06.

“To the fans, I fully understand that we did not live up to your expectations this season. One of my greatest disappointments is that we were not able to bring a championship to the great city of Washington, D.C. But through it all, I truly believe we have built a solid foundation and this team is headed in the right direction.”

It is believed that the Wizards are eyeing former Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks as Wittman’s successor.