Gene Littles was replaced as coach of the Charlotte Hornets by vice president and player personnel director Allan Bristow in a major front-office shake-up Tuesday. Littles will become a vice president and special assistant to club president Spencer Stolpen. Dave Twardzik, formerly director of scouting for the Hornets, becomes player personnel director in place of Bristow.
"We're not moving people in or moving people out," Stolpen said. "We're realigning ourselves to help build our franchise."
Bristow, 41, who was an assistant to former Denver Nuggets coach Doug Moe for six seasons, has no head-coaching experience in the NBA. He becomes the third Hornets coach in the team's three-year history.
"When the call came over the last couple of days, I got real pumped up about coaching the Hornets," Bristow said. "I felt I was young enough to take the challenge. There would have been a void in my life if I didn't try it."
Littles, 48, who replaced Dick Harter in the middle of the 1989-90 season, posted a 37-87 record as coach. Last year, the team won a club-high 26 games with him on the bench.
Littles joined the team as director of player personnel when Charlotte won the franchise in 1987 and later joined Harter on the bench as an assistant coach.
Littles said he was excited to move to the front office.
"There were rumors three months ago that I was moving up, but that was not to a position that was favorable to me," he said. "This is favorable."
He said it was his decision to take the job or remain on as coach.
"I was not pressured into doing this," he said. "It was my choice. Right now I don't feel like I want to coach."
Bristow and Littles had what Littles described as a "misunderstanding" over the team's first pick in the June 26 NBA draft. Littles reportedly told two newspapers that he preferred Syracuse forward Billy Owens but that the team would select UNLV forward Larry Johnson.
Johnson was eventually selected by the Hornets, who picked first in the draft. He remains unsigned.
Littles said any friction between him and Bristow was now in the past.
"If there was a problem they would have moved me out," he said. "They wouldn't have given me a management position."
He added that media accounts of his differences with Bristow over the team's No. 1 pick were "blown out of proportion."
Ex-coach MacLeod files
suit against Mavericks
DALLAS _ Former Dallas Mavericks coach John MacLeod, now the coach at Notre Dame, filed suit against his former employers, charging they refused to live up to financial terms of his contract.
The breach of contract suit, filed Monday in Dallas state district court, does not specify the monetary amount MacLeod claims he is owed by Dallas Mavericks Inc. But the lawsuit said the NBA team rebuffed several efforts by MacLeod and his attorneys for the money.
"Although MacLeod has received a portion of the compensation due him upon termination, the Mavericks have failed and refused to pay MacLeod the remainder of the compensation due him under his contract," the lawsuit states.
No one was in the Mavericks office Tuesday night and a message was not immediately returned. The Dallas Morning News reported in today's editions that Mavericks officials declined comment because they had not seen the suit.
MacLeod, who joined the Mavericks in 1987, was fired on Nov. 29, 1989.