Ed Pinckney launched his coaching career as an assistant to Jay Wright at Villanova, his alma mater, and after a brief stint in Minnesota, he has become a key assistant in the Chicago Bulls' organization since leaving the Main Line. Now, Pinckney will head back to Philadelphia to interview with the 76ers for their head coach opening.
Pinckney, famous for his heroics during a four-year career at Villanova including a key role in the Wildcats' 1985 National Championship, also recently interviewed for the Memphis Grizzlies head coaching job (which went to another candidate). Since leaving Villanova it has been widely believed that "Easy Ed" was primarily interested in climbing the coaching ladder in the professional ranks.
Chris Broussard of ESPN broke the news that the Sixers asked for and received permission from Chicago to interview the assistant coach.
The Sixers organization recently hired Villanova alumnus and former MSG Sports President Scott O'Neill to run their operations. One of his promises upon assuming the role of Sixers CEO was that the organization would hire a 'great coach."
"I want the roller-coaster ride. I want the twists, the turns, I want to be flipped upside-down. I want to stop and then go backwards," O'Neil told the Delco Times. "That's the process in hiring a coach, and Sam will hire a great coach who's right for this team right now. I have no doubt about that. Everybody gets a coach eventually, right? We'll get the right coach. You always want to buy a stock low, right? This is a stock you would buy."
It's possible that O'Neil's ties to Villanova have influenced the Sixers to take a close look at the Jay Wright coaching tree, and if not Wright himself, then a former Wright assistant with NBA experience is the next-best-thing. Rumor has it that the Villanova head coach has given Pinckney his most ringing endorsement in the past.