Wilson focused on future after getting fired by Caps

He may seek coaching job or pursue career in TV

Hockey

May 14, 2002|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

Ron Wilson, who was fired as the Washington Capitals' coach Friday after five years on the job, was home in Hilton Head, S.C., yesterday taking calls from the media and trying to relax.

"It's all part of the business," said Wilson, about the decision general manager George McPhee made to let him go. "George made the decision he felt he had to make. I've been busy with my daughter's graduation from South Carolina, and now I'm just letting the dust settle and doing whatever grieving process goes with this separation."

McPhee, a personal friend of Wilson's, said he made the decision based on player interviews after the season that indicated the team had "tuned out" its coach. Team co-captain Brendan Witt said 90 percent of the players "had issues" with Wilson and "had basically stopped listening to him at the end of the season and were just playing for one another."

Wilson said he has a year left on his contract with the Capitals and feels no pressure to rush out to look for a job. He pointed out he has options and could eventually look for a coaching job for the coming season, take a year off or look into working for television.

"Some people have said I'd be good at television and it might be fun from the aspect that I'd never lose a game," he said. "But it might also be good to just sit back and recharge my batteries. I can afford to do that if I want to."

Wilson said he was and wasn't surprised by his dismissal. Only a month ago, owner Ted Leonsis said his job was safe and three weeks ago, after McPhee finished with the players "exit interviews" at the end of the season, he was told "everything was cool." But then McPhee thought about the situation and made the move to fire Wilson.

"We didn't make the playoffs," Wilson said. "And I feel responsible for that. I had five years in Washington and in the NHL that's a tremendously long amount of time. Sometimes coaches need a change of scene, too."

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