Why did the Bucks fire Mike Budenholzer? Milwaukee head coach out following stunning loss to Heat
Why did the Bucks fire Mike Budenholzer? Milwaukee head coach out following stunning loss to Heat
Why the Bucks fired head coach Mike Budenholzer

The Bucks have made a significant change after their disappointing loss to the Heat.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Bucks have dismissed head coach Mike Budenholzer. Budenholzer's time with the Bucks comes to an end after five seasons, one of which ended in the franchise's first championship in 50 years.

Why did the Bucks and Budenholzer split? Here's everything we know about the situation.

MORE: What's next for the Bucks after stunning first round exit?

Why did the Bucks fire Mike Budenholzer?

The Bucks moved on from Budenholzer following a first-round loss to the Heat in the 2023 NBA Playoffs.

"This was a very difficult decision," Bucks general manager Jon Horst and president Peter Feigin said in a joint statement.

"Bud helped lead our team for five incredible seasons, to the Bucks' first title in 50 years, and into an era of sustained success. We are grateful for the culture of winning and leadership that Bud helped create in Milwaukee."

The Bucks entered the series as clear favorites but fell to the Heat in five games. It marked only the sixth time in NBA history that a No. 8 seed has defeated a No. 1 seed in the first round of the playoffs.

Budenholzer drew some heat following Game 5 for not adjusting his game plan on Jimmy Butler, who scored a combined 98 points in the final two games of the series.

Giannis Antetokounmpo asked if the #Bucks made enough adjustments on Jimmy Butler:

“We didn’t. We didn’t. We didn’t.” pic.twitter.com/ocwZXasRjA

— Lily Zhao (@LilySZhao) April 27, 2023

Budenholzer also admitted postgame that he should've called a timeout before overtime to give the Bucks a better shot at winning the game.



📺: NBA TV pic.twitter.com/x9AGDSlxpC

— NBA (@NBA) April 27, 2023

Milwaukee was without two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo for two of the games against the Heat due to a back injury, but it wasn't the first time the team fell short of expectations under Budenholzer. In his five seasons as head coach, the Bucks finished with the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference three times. Those seasons resulted in losses in the first round (2023), Conference Semifinals (2020) and Conference Finals (2019).

In 2021, Budenholzer led the Bucks to the franchise's first championship in 50 years. Ahead of those playoffs, it was reported that he was "likely gone" unless the Bucks went on a deep run.

Budenholzer received some of the same criticisms in 2023 as he did in 2021.

Here's what The Athletic's Shams Charania reported leading up to the 2021 NBA Playoffs:

In the weeks that followed the loss to the Heat, when the Bucks were convincing Giannis Antetokounmpo to sign his supermax extension while dissecting their own demise at the same time, sources say there was a great deal of frustration aimed at Budenholzer that hasn’t been forgotten. The perceived lack of adjustments was a focal point, with Budenholzer himself admitting that coaching mistakes had been made along the way. Yet from ownership on down, there was an acknowledgment that the uniqueness of the environment had made it extremely hard to evaluate the true meaning of it all.

Mike Budenholzer coaching record

The Bucks posted a record of 271-120 in the regular season and 39-26 in the playoffs under Budenholzer.

Budenholzer was named Coach of the Year for the second time in his career for leading the Bucks to a 60-22 record in the 2018-19 season. He then coached the team to a championship in 2020-21.

Prior to joining the Bucks, Budenholzer was head coach of the Hawks for five seasons.

Season Regular season record Postseason record Result
2018-19 60-22 10-5 Lost Eastern Conference Finals
2019-20 56-17 5-5 Lost Eastern Conference Semifinals
2020-21 46-26 16-7 Champions
2021-22 51-31 7-5 Lost Eastern Conference Semifinals
2022-23 58-24 1-4 Lost Eastern Conference First Round

Mike Budenholzer contract with Bucks

The Bucks announced in 2021 that they had signed Budenholzer to a "multi-year contract extension." The terms of his deal were not revealed, but he was reportedly under contract through the 2024-25 season.

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