76ers fire GM Billy King and hire Ed Stefanski
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The Philadelphia 76ers today named Ed Stefanski, a former 10th round selection of the Sixers in l976, as the team’s President and General Manager. Stefanski was most recently General Manager of the New Jersey Nets where he spent the past nine seasons in various capacities, including General Manager (2004-2007), Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations (2003-04) and Director of Scouting (2000-03). Stefanski becomes the 11th General Manager in the team’s history.
“Ed Stefanski is a terrific executive who brings a wealth of talent and experience to the Sixers,” Snider said. “He has deep roots in Philadelphia basketball, and we believe that he is the best person to lead our franchise back to the top.”
Stefanski succeeds Billy King, who served as President and GM of the Sixers for the past five seasons.
“On a personal level, it was a difficult decision because Billy King is a good friend who did a good job for our organization,” said Snider. “But it’s a decision that is best for the long-term interests of our team. We have a plan in place that will pay dividends for the Sixers, but we are convinced that it was time for a new hand at the wheel as we head into the next phase of our rebuilding effort.”
“Ed Stefanski has built a great reputation throughout the NBA as a skilled basketball executive and a great evaluator of talent,” said Peter Luukko, President and Chief Operating Officer of Comcast-Spectacor. “One of the major reasons that we made this decision was the opportunity to bring in someone who is so accomplished to run our team. As we continue to build the Sixers, we will rely heavily on Ed’s experience and knowledge of the free agent market, and the upcoming draft.”
“This is a dream come true for me,” said Stefanski, “having the chance to come home and run the Sixers. I grew up here, played and coached here, and I live here. It’s a great opportunity to lead my hometown team, a team that I believe has a great future.”
A 1976 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School of Business), the 53-year-old Stefanski played for Penn for three seasons (where he was coached by one-time 76ers head coach Chuck Daly), and was a member of two Ivy League Champions (1974 & 1975), playing in the NCAA Tournament each of those seasons. While in college, Stefanski originated and secured the funding for the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s Inner City Basketball League, which provided a structured basketball environment for hundreds of boys and girls who lived under the auspices of the Housing Authority. Stefanski was involved in all facets of the league, including scheduling, transportation, finances and game management. At the conclusion of his two-year involvement with the project, more than 500 boys and girls comprising more than 20 teams had been the beneficiaries of Sefanski’s hard work and determination. The Housing Authority cited his efforts with a special recognition award, commending his efforts and contributions to the children of Philadelphia.
Following college, Stefanski embarked on a successful business career, becoming president of Preferred Mortgages Corporation, one of the most successful real estate funding mortgage companies in the United States. But his astute business acumen did not deter him from his passion for roundball. He became the head basketball coach at his high school alma mater, Monsignor Bonner High School, in Drexel Hill, PA, for four seasons (1979-83), winning the prestigious Philadelphia Catholic League his final campaign.
But the sideline was not Stefanski’s only involvement with hoops after college. In 1979, he began a 20-year run as a color analyst, including Big Five basketball (1979-90) and as an Atlantic 10 color analyst on ESPN for 11 seasons prior to joining the Nets (1988-99).
Stefanski’s guidance as the Nets Director of Scouting played a significant role in the drafting of Kenyon Martin as the overall Number One selection in the 2000 NBA Draft, as well as the three-for-one draft night trade the following season, in which the Nets traded the draft rights to Eddie Griffin (#7) to the Houston Rockets for Richard Jefferson (#13), Jason Collins (#18) and Brandon Armstrong (#23). Three of those players (Martin, Jefferson and Collins) were starters on the Nets 2002-03 Eastern Conference championship team.
On the international front, Stefanski was instrumental in the drafting of forward Nenad Krstic of Yugoslavia with the Nets’ First Round pick in the 2002 NBA Draft.
Stefanski also was instrumental in the 2004 blockbuster transaction that brought All-Star Vince Carter to the Nets in exchange for Eric Williams, Aaron Williams, Alonzo Mourning and two first round draft picks.
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