The Philadelphia 76ers today made multiple updates to their basketball operations department, including the promotion of Ned Cohen to Vice President of Basketball Operations and Chief of Staff, as well as a re-structured analytics department, which will be led by Vice President of Analytics and Strategy Alex Rucker, and supported by Director of Applied Analytics Dr. Lance Pearson and Sergi Oliva as Director of Basketball Analytics and Innovation.
Additionally, the Sixers promoted Vince Rozman to Senior Director of Basketball Operations. The team also named Scott Epsley as Director of Physiotherapy and Clinical Diagnostics, Juan Jackson as Director of Team Security, Shea Dawson as Manager of Team Services and Kevin Owens as Basketball Operations Coordinator.
“These moves reflect the outstanding performance of many within the 76ers organization and also addresses our desire to enhance and improve our internal processes regarding decision making, athlete performance care and team services. We are very excited about the future of this organization both on and off the basketball floor,” said Colangelo.
Cohen, who joined the Sixers this June, continues to serve as the primary liaison for all interdepartmental planning, coordination and communication. He joined the organization after serving as the Associate Vice President of Basketball Operations with the NBA. Since his arrival at the league office in 2004, he played a critical role in a number of areas, with a specific focus on competitive matters. Additionally, Cohen was a key part of the operations surrounding many of the league’s significant meetings and events, including the NBA All-Star Game, Competition Committee and Board of Governors meetings.
Rucker arrives in Philadelphia after having spent the last seven seasons with the Toronto Raptors as the Senior Analytics Consultant. In that role, he supported key decision makers with analytic tools and insight, identified new basketball data sources and directed the engineering and software team. For the past two seasons, he concurrently served as the Director of Performance Analysis with Basketball Canada, where he performed advanced statistical modeling and an analysis for the men’s national team. Prior to joining the Raptors, Rucker was a Staff Officer in the United States Navy, serving under the Commander of the United States 7th Fleet in an executive leadership role. He holds a law degree from the University of Notre Dame, a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of British Columbia and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree.
Pearson spent last season in the role of coordinator of coaching analytics and special video projects, and has been working within the Sixers’ basketball operations department for the past three seasons. He spent four years at Lindsey Wilson College in Kentucky as an assistant coach and adjunct professor of psychology. Pearson holds three bachelor’s degrees from the University of Kentucky as well as a Ph.D. in cognitive and neutral systems from Boston University.
Oliva begins his third season with the Sixers, after having served the past two as Basketball Operations Analyst prior to this promotion. Before joining the organization, he was a researcher at UPC-Barcelona Tech, where he received his PhD in Computational Complexity, as well as Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Computer Science. He also continues to collaborate with the coaching development programs within the Catalan Basketball Federation.
Epsley joins the Sixers sports performance staff with nearly two decades of physical therapy experience, previously serving dual roles as both the Head Physical Therapist for Georgetown University and as Director for Professional, Collegiate and Elite Sports Therapy and Clinical Education with Medstar Sports Medicine. He has served as a medical consultant for the Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals, Washington Nationals, DC United, Team Penske’s IndyCar drivers and the New York City Ballet. Additionally, Epsley has authored a wide array of research and is a certified musculoskeletal sonographer.
Jackson has over 28 years of law enforcement and security experience, having most recently served as the Director of Team Security for the Atlanta Hawks last season. Prior to that, he spent five seasons as the Team Security representative for the Oklahoma City Thunder, while also serving as the Team Security representative for the Philadelphia Eagles, as well as the Director of Corporate Security and Emergency Management for the Simon Property Group. Additionally, Jackson spent over two decades with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and started his career as a New Jersey State Trooper.
Rozman enters his 12th season with the organization, having spent the past two seasons as the team’s Director of Basketball Operations. In his current role, he will continue to play a key role while also overseeing the day-to-day operations of the scouting department.
Dawson spent the last seven years as the Director of Basketball Operations for the Pangos All-American Camp while also serving as the Head Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach for the Windward School in Los Angeles, CA. Additionally, Dawson has extensive operations experience with a number of high-profile basketball camps and events, including the Samsung NBA Las Vegas Summer League, Adidas Nations and the Las Vegas Fab 48.
Owens enters his second season with the Sixers, where he will assist with the overall day-to-day operations of the department and work closely with the executive and coaching staffs. Prior to this promotion, he served as an Operations Assistant for the 87ers, where he was responsible for a number of areas related to team operations, including the preparation of scouting reports and game film, implementation of data and analytics, and coding practices.
In conjunction with the aforementioned changes, former Vice President of Basketball Operations Sachin Gupta and Vice President of Analytics Ben Falk have moved on to pursue new opportunities.