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Gretzky quits as Coyotes' coach - 9-24-09

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

NHL great Wayne Gretzky has resigned as head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes. The franchise had a 143-161-24 (.473 winning percentage) record during Gretzky's four seasons behind the bench and never reached the postseason.

Gretzky, a minority owner in the bankrupt franchise, steps down as the team's future is being battled for in a United States bankrupcy court between Canadian billionaire Jim Ballsillie and the NHL.

The Coyotes did not name a replacement. Assistant coach and former Penguins defenseman Ulf Samuelsson has been acting as a head coach.

Gretzky's tenure with the franchise as head coach was quite turbulent. In addition to the Coyotes' financial woes, Gretzky's wife, Janet Gretzky, and Coyotes assistant coach Rick Tocchet were involved in a gambling controversy during the 2005-06 season that led to a suspension by the NHL for Tocchet.

UPDATE: According to TSN, another former Penguin, Dave Tippett, will take over as the team's head coach. Tippett coached the Dallas Stars the previous six seasons.

EN Says: While the Coyotes' problems are much larger than Wayne Gretzky, it's a step in a right direction for this franchise to move forward on and off the ice.

(Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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