CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -Washington Wizards coach Ed Tapscott didn't need directions when he walked inside Time Warner Cable Arena on Tuesday night.
Tapscott knew where he was going - he helped design the building.
As the first person hired by the expansion Charlotte Bobcats in 2003, Tapscott had a hand in nearly every aspect of the team, from working on arena blueprints, creating the team logo, hiring coach and general manager Bernie Bickerstaff and trying to get Charlotte to warm to the NBA again.
After three years as team president while the Bobcats struggled to sell tickets and sponsorships, owner Bob Johnson told Tapscott he could stay with the organization but would have to accept a demotion.
Tapscott declined, left the team, and two years later re-entered Charlotte's downtown arena coaching the struggling Wizards.
``The job I wanted was the job I had,'' Tapscott said. ``When I left, I left on my own accord. I know that it's been described differently subsequently, but that's really what happened.
ilding stands here today. I see my imprints on it. I know the work I did and I'm proud of that.''
The Bobcats have had little success on or off the court since Johnson paid the $300 million expansion fee to become the first black majority owner of a major professional sports team. The Bobcats have won 18, 26, 33 and 32 games in their first four seasons and were 9-19 entering Tuesday's game. Charlotte ranked 28th out of 30 teams in attendance with an average of 13,421.
Apathy has prevailed in Charlotte since just before the Hornets left for New Orleans after the 2001-02 season. There was barely a reaction from the tiny crowd when Tapscott was introduced before the game.
Johnson, who has lost millions and didn't attend Tuesday's game, has shuffled his front office several times since Tapscott left. He laid off nearly 40 employees in the business and marketing operations before the start of the season.
Michael Jordan now oversees the basketball operations, and Charlotte hired Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown before this season after Sam Vincent lasted just one season when Bickerstaff stepped down.
``Not being here I can't speak in any real intelligent way, but picking one of the best coaches in basketball certainly helps,'' Tapscott said. ``Stability and the talent and the experience that coach Brown brings to the table is certainly a huge asset to this franchise.''
coach once seemed unlikely for Tapscott, who coached in college at American. After leaving Charlotte, he did consulting work for the NBA before his old friend, Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld, hired him as the team's director of player development.
After a 1-10 start this season, Grunfeld fired coach Eddie Jordan and asked Tapscott to become an NBA head coach for the first time. Tapscott agreed, but the struggling Wizards were 4-21 entering Tuesday's game.
``Trust me, the management of people is the same no matter where you are,'' Tapscott said. ``If it's your starting point guard or your top salesperson, there's an ego there to be managed. There are goals there to be set.''
Tapscott said he's glad to be back on the bench, but misses some of the duties of being a team president.
``I'll say the challenge of running an organization is a unique one,'' Tapscott said. ``There are different challenges every day in different areas, whether it's ticket sales or sponsorships or your basketball guys or your television people. So there's a certain diversity of activity that's very interesting to work with.
``So, yeah, there are some things there that I miss doing. But this has been fun. I've enjoyed this. Our players have been great,'' Tapscott added. ``I just want us to get better.''
Tuesday's game featured the two worst teams in the Eastern Conference and was played in front of a meager crowd. But Tapscott hopes the Bobcats, the team he helped build from scratch, will eventually be successful.
``I'm proud of the people we had here and I hope there's nothing but success here,'' Tapscott said. ``We helped lay the foundation.''

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