The Minnesota Timberwolves say they did their homework. And every time they looked at a question, Bill Musselman
came up as the answer.Musselman, who both rescued and punished the University of Minnesota basketball program in the early 1970s and who mortgaged the Cleveland Cavaliers' future in the early 1980s, was introduced Tuesday as the first coach of the expansion Timberwolves. The team begins NBA play in 1989-90.
"We could have had safer choices where everybody would have said, `That's a good choice,"' Timberwolves president Bob Stein said. "That entered my mind, but I never considered that as a good reason to make a choice."
Musselman, 48, has won over 64 percent of all games in which he has coached and has led teams from three different cities to the last four Continental Basketball Association championships.
Nevertheless, he is most often remembered for the ugly Minnesota-Ohio State brawl of 1972, the 100-plus NCAA violations that were discovered after he left Minnesota and the fact he traded away four of Cleveland's No. 1 draft choices for marginal NBA players.
"I didn't know too much about him (before Musselman became a serious candidate) except some general reputation things. And on that basis, I didn't think he was a guy we'd want to consider," Stein said. "But the more I talked to people, I kept hearing about what a great coach he is."
Musselman, who signed a four-year contract at an undisclosed salary, has always been known for his intensity.
Musselman coached the Albany Patroons to the CBA title last year. Albany general manager Gary Holle described Musselman as "one of the most intense people I've ever met."