The Los Angeles Clippers today named Vinny Del Negro as the team’s head coach. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not announced.
Del Negro joins the Clippers after having led the Chicago Bulls to two consecutive trips to the NBA Playoffs (2009 and 2010) after back-to-back 41-41 (.500) seasons. The Bulls were eliminated in the first round of the 2010 Playoffs (1-4) by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Chicago played a memorable seven-game first round series against the defending NBA Champion Boston Celtics in 2009. That series saw four of the seven games go into overtime, including a triple-overtime win in game 6, a double-overtime win in game 4 and an overtime win in game one. All in all, what many consider the best postseason series in NBA history, saw four of the seven games go to overtime.
Prior to his time with the Bulls, Del Negro served as Assistant General Manager of the Phoenix Suns during the 2007-08 campaign after a promotion from his previous role of Director of Player Personnel, which he held for the 2006-07 season. Del Negro moved to the front office after working three seasons (2003-06) as a color analyst for the Suns’ broadcast teams. His broadcast career also included stints as an analyst for ESPN’s “NBA Matchup” and as an analyst for the San Antonio Spurs.
Del Negro retired from his 14-year professional playing career following the 2001-02 season (12 NBA seasons and 2 seasons with Benetton Treviso in the Italian A1 League). Over his 12-year NBA career, Del Negro averaged 9.1 points in 771 regular season games, while tallying 8.8 points in 54 playoff games.
Del Negro was originally drafted by the Sacramento Kings in the second round (29th overall) of the 1988 NBA Draft, tallying 7.1 points in 80 games played during his rookie season. After spending two seasons in Sacramento, Del Negro signed with Benetton Treviso, where he averaged 25.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in 65 games over a two-year span (1990-92), leading the team to its first Italian League Championship in 1992 while being named playoff MVP.
In 1992 Del Negro returned to the NBA, embarking on a six-season stint with the San Antonio Spurs (1992-98). During his time in San Antonio, Del Negro helped lead the Spurs to the Playoffs on five occasions including two Midwest Division titles, and still holds the team’s record for consecutive free throws made (50). He was named to San Antonio’s 25th Anniversary Team as one of the top 25 players in Spurs history.
After his time in San Antonio, Del Negro played two seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks (1998-00), one season with the Golden State Warriors (2000-01) and finished his career with two seasons in Phoenix (2000-02). Prior to his retirement, Del Negro’s contract was acquired by the Clippers on November 16, 2001 as part of a three-team trade which also included the Phoenix Suns and Orlando Magic.
Del Negro played four collegiate seasons at North Carolina State under the late Jim Valvano, averaging 9.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists over his career. He helped the Wolfpack to four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, including back-to-back trips to the Elite Eight (1985 and 1986). He was also named the winner of the Everett Case Award as the MVP of the 1987 ACC Tournament, leading NC State to the tournament championship that year. Del Negro was named to the All-ACC First Team his senior season after tallying 15.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game while shooting .515 from the field and .839 from the free throw line. As a culmination to his career at North Carolina State, Del Negro had his jersey retired in 2001.
Vincent Joseph Del Negro, who was born on August 9, 1966, established the Vinny Del Negro Endowment Fun in Springfield to assist physically abused youths. Del Negro’s father, Vin, played collegiately under Adolph Rupp at the University of Kentucky. He and his wife Lynn met at North Carolina State.