WASHINGTON (AP) -Former Philadelphia 76ers and Ohio State coach Randy Ayers was hired Tuesday by the Washington Wizards as an assistant.
Ayers, expected to focus on improving Washington's defense, was an assistant with the Orlando Magic the past two seasons. Before that, he spent six-plus seasons with the 76ers.
``We are pleased to have Randy join our coaching staff,'' Wizards head coach Eddie Jordan said. ``As an assistant with the Philadelphia 76ers, he implemented the defensive schemes for a team that advanced to the NBA finals, and he has been on staffs that have made numerous postseason appearances. He will fit in nicely with our coaching staff.''
Ayers fills the slot that opened when assistant coach Tom Young retired in June. Tom Thibodeau was hired as an assistant in early July, but he left the team just days later after having what Jordan called ``a change of heart.''
As an assistant to Larry Brown in Philadelphia, Ayers helped the 76ers reach the playoffs five times, including making the NBA finals in 2001. He went 21-31 as the team's head coach in 2003-04.
Ayers was Ohio State's head coach for eight years, and was The Associated Press Coach of the Year in 1991.

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