The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the completion of head coach Kurt Rambis’ coaching staff with the hiring of veteran NBA coach Dave Wohl and former NBA standouts Reggie Theus and Bill Laimbeer. John-Blair “J.B.” Bickerstaff, who has served as an assistant coach with Minnesota for the past two seasons, will return as a member of Rambis’ staff serving as assistant coach/director of player development. Collectively, Rambis and his staff have been involved with 15 championship teams (NBA and WNBA), and bring more than 100 seasons of coaching (NBA, WNBA and collegiate) and playing experience (NBA and collegiate) to the Timberwolves bench.
“I’m excited to be able to add such a wealth of experience and such a talented group in Dave, Bill and Reggie to our coaching staff,” said Timberwolves head coach Kurt Rambis. “Each of them brings a wide array of both NBA and coaching experiences, skills and talents to our team. We all are looking forward to the start of the season and getting on the court with our players.”
Wohl brings over 30 years of NBA experience to the Timberwolves bench, having served in a variety of capacities through the years, including as a head coach, an assistant coach and as a member of the front office. The last two seasons he was the assistant general manager of the Boston Celtics. Wohl has spent several years as an assistant coach in the NBA with various teams: Boston (2004-05 - 2006-07), Orlando (1999-00 - 2003-04), L.A. Clippers (1993-94), L.A. Lakers (1982-83- 1984-85, 1998-99), Miami (1989-90- 1990-91) and Sacramento (1992-93). As an assistant coach under Pat Riley, Wohl was a member of the Lakers’ 1985 NBA Championship team. Wohl was the head coach of the New Jersey Nets for two-plus seasons (1985-88), leading the team to the NBA Playoffs in 1986. From 1995-97, Wohl was the Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Miami Heat.
Selected in the third round of the 1971 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, Wohl spent seven seasons as a player in the NBA (1971-78). He appeared in 410 games with Philadelphia, Portland, Buffalo, Houston and New York-New Jersey Nets, scoring 2,553 points. A two-time Ivy League selection at the University of Pennsylvania, Wohl led the Quakers to two Ivy League titles and two NCAA Tournament appearances.
Theus joins the Timberwolves staff after serving as head coach of the Sacramento Kings (44-62, 415) for one-plus seasons. He guided the Kings to a 38-44 record in 2007-08, which was a five-win improvement over the previous year, despite being short-handed for most of the season due to injuries to key players.
Prior to his head coaching stint with Sacramento, Theus spent the previous two years as the head coach at New Mexico State University, leading the Aggies to a berth in the NCAA Tournament during the 2006-07 campaign (a first for the school since ‘99). He compiled a 41-23 record in his two years with the Aggies. In his first year at the helm of the NMSU program, Theus guided the Aggies to a tie for the fifth-best turnaround in Division I basketball and the best single-season improvement of any NMSU squad since the 1985-86 season. He turned around a program that went 6-24 the year before he arrived (2004-05), leading the team to a 16-14 record. Theus’ Aggies improved to 25-9 in 2006-07, winning the Western Athletic Conference Tournament. Before his NMSU assignment, Theus spent two seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Louisville under head coach Rick Pitino.
Before turning his attention to the coaching profession, Theus’ 13 years as a player in the NBA were spent with the Chicago Bulls, Kansas City/Sacramento Kings, Atlanta Hawks, Orlando Magic and New Jersey Nets. After being drafted by the Bulls as the ninth overall pick in 1978, Theus finished runner-up in the NBA Rookie of the Year voting to Kansas City’s Phil Ford and was named to the 1979 All-Rookie team. For his career, Theus averaged 18.5 points, 6.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game while being named to the 1981 and 1983 NBA All-Star teams. He is one of only seven players in NBA history to score at least 19,000 points and dish out 6,000 assists, joining John Havlicek, Oscar Robertson, John Stockton, Gary Payton, Clyde Drexler and Jerry West with that distinction. When Theus retired, he ranked 22nd on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 19,105 career points and 11th on the all-time assists list with 6,453 career assists.
Laimbeer joins the Timberwolves after seven successful seasons as the head coach and general manager of the WNBA’s Detroit Shock. During that time, Laimbeer coached the Shock to three WNBA Championships (2003, 2006, 2008), four Eastern Conference titles, including the past three (2006, 2007, 2008) and a historic worst-to-first turnaround (the Shock, 9-23 a year earlier won a league-best 25 games the following season) for which he was named 2003 WNBA Coach of the Year. Laimbeer amassed a regular-season record of 136-90 (.602) and a postseason mark of 27-16 (.628), which includes the most postseason wins (27) and WNBA Finals victories (10) in league history. Laimbeer, who became head coach on June 19, 2002 despite no previous coaching experience, resigned from the Shock on June 15, 2009 to pursue NBA coaching opportunities.
A four-time NBA All-Star center (1983-85, 1987), Laimbeer played 13-plus seasons in the NBA and finished with career averages of 12.9 points and 9.7 rebounds in 1,068 games. He totaled 13,790 points and 10,400 rebounds in his career, making him the 19th player in NBA history to reach 10,000 in both categories. He led the NBA in rebounding during the 1985-86 season (13.1 rpg), collected more defensive rebounds than any other NBA player from 1982-1990 and finished his career as the Pistons’ all-time leading rebounder with 9,430. In 113 playoff games (second most in franchise history), Laimbeer averaged 12.0 points and 9.7 rebounds as Detroit posted a 71-42 (.628) mark with him at center. A key member of the Pistons’ “Bad Boys” teams that won back-to-back NBA championships in 1989 and 1990, Laimbeer had his No. 40 jersey retired (one of six in franchise history) by the team on Feb. 4, 1995. Originally drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the third round (65th overall) in the 1979 NBA Draft, the Notre Dame product was traded to Detroit in a multiplayer deal on Feb. 16, 1982.
Bickerstaff returns for his third season as a Timberwolves assistant coach in 2009-10. Prior to joining the Wolves, Bickerstaff spent the previous three seasons as an assistant coach to his father Bernie Bickerstaff with the Charlotte Bobcats. Bickerstaff got his start with the Timberwolves organization during the 2003-04 season as the color analyst on Timberwolves radio broadcasts. Prior to joining the Wolves, Bickerstaff served as director of operations for the University of Minnesota men’s basketball program where he oversaw all administrative areas of the program and assisted the coaching staff with recruiting, scouting and coaching. Bickerstaff played his first two collegiate seasons at Oregon State University, where he was the youngest NCAA Division I player as a 17-year-old freshman, and finished his career at the University of Minnesota. As a senior, he averaged 10.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game for the Gophers.