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Former Nets coach Tom Barrise dies at age 68

Interim Head Coach Tom Barrise in New Jersey Nets v Los Angeles Lakers

LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 29: Interim Head Coach Tom Barrise of the New Jersey Nets reacts during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on November 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

The New Jersey Nets fired coach Lawrence Frank after an 0-16 start in 2009. But before general manager Kiki VanDeWeghe took over for the rest of the season, the Nets had Tom Barrise coach two games – the record-tying and record-setting losses for worst start to a season.

New Jersey putting those losses on Barrise’s record elicited sympathy for the interim interim coach.

It also made him one of 343 people ever to head-coach in the NBA – a significant distinction for someone who spent decades working in basketball.

New York Daily News:

Thibodeau opened his pre-game presser Friday with condolences for Tom Barrise, the longtime NBA scout and coach who died recently from cancer. He was 68.
“Just a great basketball guy,” Thibodeau said. “We worked together in Chicago. Just sad news.”

Those two losses with New Jersey stand as the only games of Barrise’s NBA head-coaching career. Afterward, he returned to being assistant for VanDeWeghe then Avery Johnson with the Nets.

He later worked as a Bulls scout when now-Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau was in Chicago.