The Charlotte Bobcats hired Steve Clifford as their third coach in as many years.
Clifford spent the past 13 years as an assistant coach in the National Basketball Association, including the 2012-13 season with the Los Angeles Lakers, and had his only previous head coaching experience at Division II Adelphi University in Garden City, New York, from 1995 to 1999. Clifford’s teams have made the NBA playoffs nine of the last 10 seasons.
“He brings a strong pedigree and a track record of success to our franchise,” Bobcats President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins said in a statement. “He has built a reputation as an innovator, especially defensively, and has experience in multiple systems. We look forward to utilizing his knowledge as we continue to build this team.”
Clifford succeeds Mike Dunlap, who was fired after going 21-61 in his only season as coach of the Bobcats. Clifford is the sixth coach in the nine-year history of the franchise, which has had one winning season since joining the NBA as the league’s most recent expansion team in 2004.
Before spending this season with the Lakers, Clifford was with the Orlando Magic for five seasons and made five straight playoff appearances as a member of Stan Van Gundy’s staff. He also worked under Jeff Van Gundy for four years with the Houston Rockets and started in the NBA as a scout and assistant coach with the New York Knicks from 2000 to 2003.
At Adelphi, Clifford had an 86-36 record and took the school to four straight appearances in college basketball’s Division II national tournament.