Nashville, Tenn. Hubie Brown retired as coach of the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday because of health reasons.
"Unexpected health-related issues will not allow me to continue coaching the Memphis Grizzlies," the 71-year-old Brown said in a statement. "This situation was unforeseen and absolutely nonexistent at the beginning of the season."
Assistant Lionel Hollins was named interim coach.
Brown was not available for comment Thursday. The team scheduled a news conference for today. Grizzlies spokeswoman Stacey Mitch said Brown did not have a serious illness, but declined to comment further.
Brown was the oldest coach in the NBA when he returned to the league in 2002 after a 16-year break. He coached Atlanta from 1976 to '81 and the New York Knicks from 1982 to '86. He took the Hawks to the playoffs three times, including when he was named NBA Coach of the Year in 1978, and the Knicks to playoffs twice.
In 1975, Brown led the Kentucky Colonels to the ABA championship.
Fired by the Knicks in 1986, Brown became a TV analyst.
Brown received his second coach-of-the-year award last season after leading Memphis to a 50-32 record and its first playoff appearance.
He retired one day after the Grizzlies lost to Seattle, 93-84, and slipped to 5-7, fourth place in the Southwest Division. He made no reference to retiring after the game.
While much was expected of Memphis, the team has been hampered by injuries.