From the Advertiser today:
Joey Wright says he's not bitter and has left as 36ers coach for mental health reasons
Outgoing Adelaide coach Joey Wright gives the reasons why he has left the club after seven seasons in charge.
Reece Homfray, The Advertiser
February 27, 2020 2:19pm
Outgoing coach Joey Wright says he had to leave the Adelaide 36ers for the sake of his own mental health after realising his values were no longer aligned with the club and some of the players.
Wright and the 36ers have mutually agreed to part ways after seven seasons and two grand final appearances.
He had two seasons remaining on his contract and reached a financial settlement with the club on Wednesday after weeks of discussions with club owner Grant Kelley.
Wright was not interviewed as part of the club’s external review and said his departure had nothing to do with its findings which have recommended changes to leadership and culture.
"It was mutual, they wanted to go in a different direction and so did I, and that’s what it came down to," he told The Advertiser.
“I don’t feel wronged or upset, that is definitely the true emotion, that’s no bullsh**, I’m not mad at the 36ers at all, not even a little bit.
“To get away from that situation is for me, health-wise, the best thing to happen. As far as mental health, dealing with the pressures and stresses of that situation.
“I’m just concerned our values were inconsistent with one another and not that mine were right and theirs were wrong, but they were inconsistent and we just weren’t heading in the right direction.
“I think we had enough respect for each other to say 'well, you go, and the other said ‘yep, I’m OK with that’.
“When you sign that contract one of two things will happen, even if you see out the end of it, they were going to ask me to leave or I was going to want to leave, and this is both of them at the same time.
“Realising the time was right and nothing was going to change, that’s how I made my decision.”
The 36ers have missed the finals the past two seasons and towards the end, Wright’s relationship was excellent with some players and non-existent with others - namely imports Jerome Randle, Eric Griffin, Ramone Moore and Aussie big man Harry Froling.
“The ones who it wasn’t good with, it wasn’t good. I’m not a halfway person, I can’t be lukewarm, you’re either with me or against me and there were four who weren’t really committed and by then the three imports and Harry didn’t give us what we needed. That was the reality of it,” Wright said.
“I would have loved for those guys to be a little bit more driven but we weren’t on the same page, and that’s not the club’s fault, that’s my fault and I tried everything I could to get them on the same page as everybody else.”
Wright did not attend Saturday’s night’s club MVP awards dinner because he didn’t feel right about it.
“We were still in a (legal) situation,” Wright said.
“I didn’t feel overly welcomed and I didn’t feel welcoming either.
“But I do plan on doing something for the people I want to see at some point in time, for fans to come along and have a drink and the sponsors who I have a good relationship with, I want to thank them.”
Wright’s final game against Perth was his 500th as an NBL coach and he said he was proud of his time at Adelaide, including being named coach of the year.
“In order for us to be as competitive as we were, I was giving more than what I felt I should, because I still have friends and family (to spend time with),” he said.
“The stuff I set up in the community, our academy program, even the move to get Terrance (Ferguson) here (before the NBA draft).
“We were relevant for seven years I was there. Before that when I saw Adelaide on our schedule it wasn’t something I thought ‘oh shit, we’re going to play Adelaide’.
“I think that changed, we developed some guys to be better than before they got here, I think the program excelled and that’s what I’m most proud of.
“We still won more games than any other club except Perth over the last seven years ... and that in itself is a championship in my mind, I can live with that.”
Wright becomes an Australian citizen in September and has no immediate plans to leave the city he now calls home.
“I’m committed to my daughter to let her get through the year and she’s at a pivotal age, and I want to make sure wherever I go next I’m going to be locked in to get her through high school,” he said.