Sad news coming out of Houston on Thursday, as Rockets’ coach Kevin McHale will not be coaching the team during their game against the Trail Blazers in Portland due to the death of his mother, according to the team:
Kelvin Sampson will fill in for Coach Kevin McHale tonight following the passing of his mother. Our condolences to the McHale family.
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) December 13, 2013
Josephine Patricia Starcevich passed away on Tuesday night, and McHale has been away from the team since. Last season, McHale missed a lot of time after his daughter passed away at the young age of 23. This has to be tough for McHale, and he should take his time when it comes to returning to the court.
Assistant coach Kelvin Sampson has been the interim head coach while McHale is away, and he will continue those duties on Thursday. This is a big game when it comes to the Western Conference, but the death of a loved one should always trump sports. McHale is one of the NBA’s good guys, as he was a great player, broadcaster, and has turned out to be a pretty coach.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Kevin McHale and his family during this time, and we will update you on the situation accordingly.