mike dunleavy, kim hughes, mike dunleavy fired

kim hughes, mike dunleavy fired, kim hughes clippers, pat riley, dale earnhardt jr

DunleavyThe Clippers announced Thursday afternoon that Mike Dunleavy has stepped down as head coach and that assistant coach Kim Hugheswill assume the head coach position for the remainder of the season.

ClipperslogoDunleavy will remain as Clippers general manager. He is under contract through the 2010-11 season.

The Clippers just concluded a 2-6 trip with a loss to Atlanta on Wednesday night and are a season-worst seven games under .500.

Clippers President Andy Roeser said in a statement, "It just seems clear that the team needs a fresh voice and we hope the players will respond in a positive way."

Dunleavy became the Clippers head coach for the 2003-04 season. The Clippers made the playoffs only once under Dunleavy, in the 2005-06 season.

This season turned sour for the Clippers before the opener when the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, forward Blake Griffin, injured his knee. Last month the Clippers said that Griffin would miss the entire season and need surgery.

In a statement, Dunleavy said: "I've come to the conclusion that this is the ideal time for me to direct my efforts toward the many personnel opportunities that lie before us, such as the trade market, the Draft and the free agent process. We fully expect to be active and productive on all those fronts."

--Barry Stavro

Photo: Mike Dunleavy argues a call in a game last March. Credit: Los Angeles Times / Alex Gallardo.