Houston Rockets Head Coach Kevin McHale Takes Leave of Absence

Ben ChodosCorrespondent IINovember 10, 2012

Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale will not be with his team when it takes the court next, as he has taken a leave of absence due to an unspecified personal matter. 

Rockets.com’s Jason Friedman reported McHale’s decision via Twitter, and that Kelvin Sampson would fill in for him while he is gone. 

Kevin McHale taking leave of absence starting tonight to attend to personal family matter. Kelvin Sampson assumes HC duties in his stead.

— Jason Friedman (@RocketsJCF) November 10, 2012

Houston general manager Daryl Morey said via NBA.com:

Kevin is a devoted family man who is needed back home in Minnesota at the moment. The Rockets organization will keep Kevin and his family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

McHale is in his second season as the Rockets head coach. He led the team to a 34-32 record in 2011-12 and just missed out on the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

After an offseason full of personnel changes capped off by a blockbuster trade that brought James Harden to Houston, McHale faced raised expectations and knew that failing to reach the postseason again would be significantly more disappointing than it was last year.

The Rockets are 2-3 this season, and Harden has already flashed the ability to be an electric scorer while playing as the team’s top offensive option. The 23-year-old shooting guard leads a cast of young and talented players that McHale has at his disposal.

With the offseason adjustments and the new potential on the roster, Houston is one of the more intriguing teams in the NBA this season.

But often players and coaches are forced to deal with something much bigger and more important than basketball through the course of a season. Basketball fans are all certainly hoping that the situation McHale is dealing with will allow him to return to his job as quickly as possible.