The New Jersey Nets have named Sam Mitchell, Larry Krystkowiak, John Loyer, Popeye Jones and Tom Barrise as assistant coaches, Nets General Manager Billy King announced today.
“Avery has assembled a staff that brings a wealth of NBA experience to the sidelines,” said King. “Their collective knowledge of the game, gained from both playing and coaching in the league, will be an invaluable asset to the head coach as well as our players.”
Sam Mitchell, the 2006-07 NBA Coach of the Year, brings four-plus seasons of head coaching experience and will be the lead assistant on Avery Johnson’s staff. Mitchell led the Toronto Raptors to two playoff appearances as head coach, including the 2006-07 campaign in which he guided the team to a 47- 35 record, a 20 game improvement from the previous season. Prior to his time in Toronto, Mitchell served as an assistant coach on George Karl’s staff in Milwaukee for two seasons (2002-2004). The 13-year NBA veteran split his playing career between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Indiana Pacers. He appeared in 994 regular season games and 59 postseason contests, missing just 40 games to injury or illness throughout his career and posting averages of 8.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists.
Larry Krystkowiak comes to the Nets after 12 years of coaching experience in the NBA, CBA and NCAA. Krystkowiak was most recently with Milwaukee Bucks as their head coach after taking over for Terry Stotts in 2006-07 and controlling the sideline for the entire 2007-08 campaign. He holds a career record of 31-69 (.310) after finishing 5-13 (.279) in 2006-07 while going 26-56 (.317) in 2007-08. The University of Montana alum got his first coaching job at his alma mater as an assistant in 1998. After two years at Montana, he left to become an assistant at Old Dominion for the 2001-02 season. He received his first opportunity as a head coach with the CBA’s Idaho Stampede in 2003-04. In his sole season with Idaho, he led the Stampede to a 37-16 record and a spot in the CBA championship game. In May of 2004, he was hired as the head coach at the University of Montana and amassed a 42-40 (.512) record in two seasons at the helm. In June of 2006, Krystkowiak joined Stotts’ staff as an assistant in Milwaukee. After being selected by Chicago in the second round (28th overall) of the 1986 NBA Draft, Krystkowiak spent nine seasons in the NBA with Chicago, Milwaukee, San Antonio, Utah, Orlando and the Los Angeles Lakers. Krystkowiak’s best season came in 1988-89 when he averaged 12.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 30 minutes per game for Milwaukee. He holds career averages of 8.2 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest.
John Loyer returns for his second season as an assistant coach for the Nets, following four seasons in the same position for the Philadelphia 76ers. Prior to his time in Philadelphia, Loyer spent a total of five seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers as the team’s video coordinator (2000-01), advance scout (2001-03) and assistant coach (2003-05). Before joining the Trail Blazers staff in 2000, Loyer spent 12 years in the collegiate coaching ranks with stops at Wabash Valley College (1999-00), University of Akron (1987-89) and the University of Cincinnati (1989-99). He was an assistant at Cincinnati for 10 years during which time the Bearcats made it to the Final Four once and twice to the Elite Eight.
Popeye Jones joins the Avery Johnson’s staff after spending four seasons as a member of the player development staff in Dallas. Jones enjoyed an 11-year NBA career after being selected by Houston in the second round (41st overall) of the 1992 NBA Draft. He played one season in Europe before beginning his first of two stints with Dallas in 1993. Jones’ best season came in 1995-96 when he averaged 11.3 points and 10.8 rebounds. He holds the record for most rebounds by a Maverick in a game (28 vs. IND on 1/9/96). Jones holds career averages of 7.0 points and 7.4 rebounds in 535 career games with Dallas, Toronto, Boston, Denver, Washington and Golden State.
Tom Barrise returns for his 15th season with the Nets and his seventh full season as an assistant coach. Tom joined the assistant coach ranks in January of 2004 when Lawrence Frank took over as head coach. Prior to his current position, Barrise served as the Nets’ advance scout for eight seasons. Prior to joining the Nets, Tom was the head basketball coach for three seasons (1992-95) at Ramapo College in Mahwah, New Jersey, while also performing advance scout duties for the Cleveland Cavaliers (1992-96). His basketball coaching odyssey also includes stints at St. Peter’s College, Fairfield University, East Carolina University, Jacksonville University, William Paterson College and Fairleigh Dickinson University.