Ewing Wants an Interview, Doesn't Want to Be Typecast a 'Big Man's Coach'
Yet he still sounds restless -- and with good reason. He wants his own team.
Like he has for the past few years at this time, Ewing has watched and listened to the coaching merry-go-round, familiar names being interviewed for openings all around the league, growing frustrated that his phone hasn't rang yet.
"People keep telling me to be patient, and I am because I'm really liking this, but I think I deserve a shot at a head coaching job,'' Ewing said Monday before the Magic played the Atlanta Hawks in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinal round. "I really don't know why someone won't take a chance. I've paid my dues.''
Ewing, already in the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player, has spent six years as an assistant coach, working under Doug Collins in Washington, Jeff Van Gundy in Houston and Stan Van Gundy in Orlando the last three seasons.
He was instrumental in the development of both Yao Ming and Dwight Howard, yet he is quick to remind you that his duties go far beyond coaching big men.
"Maybe I'm being typecast. I don't know, but I'm not a big man's coach. I'm a coach involved in all phases of this game,'' he said. "I've worked for, and played under, a lot of good coaches. And I've taken bits and pieces from all of them.''
The Bulls, Hornets, 76ers and Clippers already have begun their interview process, and none have called the Magic about Ewing. The Nets also have an opening, but they have been waiting for the league to make official the ownership change to Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov official before moving forward with their search. General manager Rod Thorn also said he would not interview any assistant coaches until they finish with the playoffs. Other spots could open up.
"At this point, I haven't heard from anyone asking permission to talk with Patrick, but I expect I'll hear from some people soon,'' said Magic general manager Otis Smith. "Sometimes it just takes a little longer for big guys. For some reason, people think the point guards are the smartest guys on the floor.''
Stan Van Gundy said he also has been surprised that Ewing hasn't been interviewed yet. Ewing twice has been the lead coach for the Magic Summer League team, and also was the head coach for the Sophomore Team at NBA All-Star Weekend in Dallas this year.
"Patrick certainly has the resume, a better one than a lot of guys,'' Van Gundy said. "It's frustrating because he's certainly qualified to be a head coach. I think he'd be a good one.''