first_img“This opportunity is not a step down, sideways, backwards, somehow different than the men’s game,” Fisher told a room full of media at a downtown hotel, insisting the WNBA isn’t a steppingstone. “There isn’t a future outside of what we’re here to talk about today.”Executive vice president and general manager Penny Toler didn’t look far in finding a replacement for Brian Agler, who resigned last week.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back Chriss“Our coach’s search was short but sweet,” she said. “The first person who came to mind was Derek Fisher. Derek has been a huge supporter of the Sparks, but even more importantly, he’s been a huge supporter of the WNBA from day one. He would leave his practice and fly and watch us play.”Toler said that during her 20 years as GM she would discuss the team with Fisher and seek his advice and suggestions. Los Angeles Sparks newly named head coach Derek Fisher takes questions from the media during a news conference in Los Angeles, Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)LOS ANGELES (AP) — It was a “short but sweet” search to find the new coach of the Los Angeles Sparks. Turns out he has been sitting in the courtside seats for years.Derek Fisher was introduced Friday as coach of the team that he watched play at Staples Center while helping the Lakers win five NBA championships as their point guard. It’s Fisher’s second stint as a head coach in the pro ranks. He was fired from the New York Knicks in 2016.ADVERTISEMENT Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Fisher said it took a while for him to come to terms with the fact that he was “overly fixated with what other people thought about my experience in New York as opposed to what I felt about my experience in New York.”Fisher peppered Toler with what she said were “about 2,000 questions” before agreeing to take the Sparks job. He indicated the homework was necessary after his time with the Knicks.“What I learned is, if there is not clarity in purpose, vision and mission from ownership to management to coaches to players to staff, it doesn’t work,” he said. “Some of the basketball things are irrelevant if ownership, management, staff, players, if we are not aligned in the way we see going about our jobs and achieving our purpose and our mission.”Since leaving New York, Fisher has worked as a TV analyst. He said he explored jobs with college and men’s pro teams but the timing wasn’t right.He also experienced upheaval in his personal life. “I want more,” she said.Besides Parker, the Sparks have another former league MVP in Nneka Ogwumike and hope to re-sign guard Chelsea Gray.“We have chemistry,” Parker said.Parker noted she first met Fisher when she was 8 or 9 and her older brother’s agent was based in Arkansas, where Fisher is from.Fisher was fired in New York after going 40-96 in 1 ½ seasons while working under then-Knicks executive Phil Jackson, who coached him on the Lakers. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil ‘Mia’: Rom-com with a cause a career-boosting showcase for Coleen Garcia “He’s invested,” she said.Fisher becomes the 12th coach in franchise history. He takes over a team that went 19-15 in the regular season this year before losing in the second round of the playoffs.Agler resigned without explanation after four years that included winning the WNBA championship in 2016. He had an 85-51 career mark with the Sparks.“I don’t know why he wanted to. I didn’t ask,” Toler said. “When someone wants to resign, it’s not my job to talk them out of it.”Former league MVP Candace Parker was on hand to welcome Fisher. She waved her right hand in the air, showing off her WNBA championship ring that made a clunking noise when her hand hit the table.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plumcenter_img Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? In June 2015, he and former teammate Matt Barnes got into an altercation at the home of Gloria Govan, Barnes’ ex-wife who is now Fisher’s fiancée. In June 2017, Fisher was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after his vehicle flipped on a Los Angeles freeway. He and Govan weren’t injured.Govan and two of Fisher’s children from his first marriage were on hand Friday.“The book is not finished yet,” Fisher said. “I feel like this is an opportunity for me to continue writing my coaching book and I’m excited to do it here in LA with the Sparks.” No.13 lucky for Orlando Bloom Jalalon, Barroca anchor smothering Magnolia defense in Game 2 win Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award After winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folk LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. 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first_img“This store has probably lost all its good salespeople,” O’Neal said. “This morning we were all really pissed, but now I laugh about it. What can you do?” The company chairman said it’s just a business decision. “We’re taking a number of aggressive actions to improve our cost and expense structure,” Philip Schoonover, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Circuit City Stores Inc., said in a written statement. O’Neal said he was told he can re-apply for his job after 10 weeks – if he’s willing to work for minimum wage. Currently, California minimum wage is $7.50 an hour. However, company spokesman Jim Babb said new hires will earn more than minimum wage, though he would not specify an hourly rate. Hiring will start immediately, and job candidates will not be required to have sales experience, he said. Salary cuts, the termination of a lease for a distribution center in Ohio, and an outsourcing agreement with IBM will save the chain $110 million, the Richmond, Va.-based retailer said. Last month the company announced it will close seven of its 643 locations and relocate one store. It reported falling profits in the fourth quarter and has been losing market share to Best Buy since 1996. The company is the nation’s second-largest consumer-electronics retailer, trailing Best Buy by $16 billion in sales in 2006. News of the layoffs apparently pleased Wall Street, pushing up Circuit City’s stock 2 percent after the announcement. It closed up $0.35 at $19.23. Timing of the layoffs, two weeks before performance reviews that often come with pay raises, spooked a Circuit City employee who was not laid off and earns $10.50 an hour. He refused to give his name because of a policy that employees not speak to the media. “You’re going to walk in the (manager’s) door, and for the first time you’re going to say I don’t want a raise,” he said. “If you take the raise, will you lose your job?” The employee said he was not worried about the salary cap because his long-term career goals are in medicine. Specialized electronic companies are being pressured by increased competition from rivals Best Buy and Wal-Mart as the price of flat-screen televisions falls, several analysts said. Circuit City’s woes are also due to its stores, said analyst Andy Hargreaves of Pacific Crest Securities in Portland, Ore. In the 1990s, the chain didn’t invest in its stores or open enough new locations while Best Buy did, he said. “What they ended up with were a bunch of old crappy stores, and now they’re still feeling the pain of that,” Hargreaves said. The cuts will boost Circuit City’s short-term outlook but could kill the stores in the long term if new hires don’t offer the same level of customer service, said Jack Kyser, vice president and chief economist at Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. “At the end of the day, it’s still the interaction between somebody on the selling floor and the customer,” Kyser said. “If there’s not a reason to come back because of bad service, that’s the kiss of death.” But as consumers become more savvy, learning the difference between plasma televisions and liquid crystal display or LCD sets, experienced salesmen may not be as needed. Cutting experienced salespeople sends a message to Circuit City`s remaining employees and competitors, said Dan Blake, director of the San Fernando Valley Economic Research Center at California State University, Northridge. “It’s certainly going to hurt employee morale,” which is a big factor in productivity, he said. But the cuts also signal rival Best Buy that Circuit City will continue to fight for market share. “These folks are not closing down and going out without a fight,” Blake said. Circuit City is scheduled to announce first-quarter earnings April 4. julia.scott@dailynews.com (818) 713-3735 At $15 an hour, Richard O’Neal was one of the better-paid salesmen at the Circuit City in Woodland Hills. His career there ended about 8:15 a.m. Wednesday in a mandatory meeting for workers being laid off. Their transgression: They cost too much money. O’Neal and about a dozen of his co-workers are among 3,400 nationwide dismissed by the company, which will replace them with lower-paid employees. The dismissed employees received a memo saying, in part, that the company “made a business decision, with respect to certain positions, to separate from employment hourly associates whose pay rate is 51 cents or more above (an) established pay range.” last_img