The Oklahoma City Thunder has named Monty Williams, Maurice Cheeks and Anthony Grant as assistant coaches and Billy Schmidt as quality control coach, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. They join Mark Bryant and Darko Rajakovic as assistants on Head Coach Billy Donovan’s bench, along with shooting coach Adam Harrington and Vin Bhavnani, who will return as manager of advance scouting/player development.
“I’m really excited about the vast experience that this staff will bring to our team,” Donovan said. “The opportunity to bring these coaches together will help us work towards our goal of having a defensive identity, sharing the ball and playing efficiently on both ends. The group delivers an incredible set of individual skills, knowledge and background to the table, and I believe that the impact of their collective efforts will be very beneficial as we continue to build the tradition of the Thunder.”
Williams joins the Thunder after spending five seasons as the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans from 2010-2015. This past year, he guided the Pelicans to their first playoff berth since the 2010-11 season. Prior to his time in New Orleans, he spent five seasons as an assistant coach on the Portland Trail Blazers’ bench and one season as a coaching staff intern with the San Antonio Spurs where he earned a championship ring with the 2005 championship squad. Additionally, Williams serves as an assistant coach with the USA Men’s National Team.
The 24th overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft, Williams averaged 6.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 16.7 minutes in 456 games over nine seasons with New York, San Antonio, Denver, Orlando and Philadelphia.
Cheeks, who spent four seasons on the Thunder bench from 2009-2013, returns to Oklahoma City after serving as the head coach of the Detroit Pistons during the 2013-14 season. Overall, he has amassed a head coaching record of 305-315 (.492) with the Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers (2005-2008) and Portland Trail Blazers (2001-2005). Cheeks was also an assistant coach with the 76ers from 1994-2001.
A 15-year NBA veteran, Cheeks retired from the NBA as its all-time leader in steals after playing with Philadelphia, San Antonio, New York, Atlanta and New Jersey. He helped lead the 76ers to the 1983 NBA Championship and his teams went to the playoffs in 13 of his 15 seasons. The Chicago native was a four-time All-Star and appeared on the NBA’s All-Defensive team five times.
Grant arrives in Oklahoma City after serving as the head coach of the University of Alabama’s men’s basketball program from 2009-2015. In his six seasons in Tuscaloosa, Grant amassed a record of 117-85 (.579) while guiding the Crimson Tide to the 2012 NCAA tournament, their first tournament berth since the 2006 season. Before that, he spent three seasons as the head coach of the Virginia Commonwealth University’s men’s basketball team. During his time at the helm, the Rams went 76-25 (.752) and won three consecutive Colonial Athletic Association Championships.
From 1996-2006, Grant served as an assistant coach under Billy Donovan at the University of Florida. During his 10-year stint in Gainesville, the Gators amassed a record of 226-98 (.698) and reached the NCAA tournament in eight consecutive seasons, capped by their national title in 2006. He has also served as an assistant at Marshall University and Stetson University.
Schmidt comes to the Thunder after spending last season as the assistant to the head coach at the University of Florida under Donovan. Prior to that, Schmidt was an assistant coach at Georgia Tech for three seasons (2011-2014) and spent eight seasons at the University of Dayton (2004-2011). Additionally, he has worked on the men’s basketball staff’s at the University of Michigan, Seton Hall University, Northwestern University and the University of Tennessee.
After graduating with honors from Wake Forest in 1992, Schmidt began his coaching career at Oak Hill Academy, serving as an assistant coach to Steve Smith. During his two year stay at Oak Hill Academy, his teams won back-to-back national championships.