The Golden State Warriors have named Mark Jackson, a 17-year NBA veteran as a player and current ABC/ESPN broadcaster, as the team’s new head coach, it was announced today. Jackson becomes the 24th head coach in franchise history and the 19th since the team moved to the West Coast in 1962.
According to three separate reports, Jackson’s coaching deal is for three years, with a Warriors team option for the fourth year.
Jackson, 46, played for seven organizations – New York (twice), the L.A. Clippers, Indiana (twice), Denver, Toronto, Utah and Houston – during his highly-successful 17-year NBA career and helped guide his teams to the playoffs in 14 of those 17 seasons. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he ranks third on the NBA’s all-time assists list (10,334) – trailing only John Stockton and Jason Kidd – and was named a member of the Eastern Conference All-Star team in 1989. Jackson was originally selected by the New York Knicks in the first round of the 1987 NBA Draft (18th overall) and promptly captured NBA Rookie of the Year honors at the conclusion of the 1987-88 campaign. He established a still-standing NBA record for assists by a rookies in a single season (868) and played for five Hall of Fame coaches during his collegiate and professional careers (Lou Carnesecca, Lenny Wilkens, Jerry Sloan, Pat Riley and Larry Brown).
“After an extensive search and a great deal of consideration, we have come to the conclusion that Mark Jackson is the best coach for this team,” said Warriors’ General Manager Larry Riley. “He will bring a youthful and fresh approach to our team and the fact that he enjoyed a stellar playing career, where he served most of that time as the leader of some very successful teams, will prove invaluable in the long run. We were looking for a coach with leadership ability and a strong personality and believe Mark possesses those qualities. He’s very well respected in NBA circles, is a consummate professional and his knowledge and background will be an incredible asset for our team and organization.”
“We are tremendously excited about the addition of Mark Jackson as our new head coach,” said Warriors’ Owner Joe Lacob. “He epitomized leadership as a player in this league for 17 seasons and we think that characteristic – and many other positive traits – will translate very well into his coaching duties with our young team. He was a leader and a winner both on and off the floor in this league and we’re convinced that he is the right person to guide this team into the future and help us achieve the success that we are striving for as an organization.”
InsideHoops.com had suggested in the past that Jackson might have to gain experience as an assistant coach before a team would offer him a head coaching position. But the Warriors, under new ownership, are clearly looking to shake things up and roll the dice.
“I am really elated about this opportunity and I’m looking forward to the challenge of building the Warriors into a perennial contender,” said Jackson. “I cannot tell you how impressed I was with the organization during our meetings, beginning at the top with Joe Lacob and, of course, with Larry Riley, Bob Myers and Jerry West. I have sensed that Joe is committed to winning and building a team and a culture the right way. I think we all witnessed that with some of the recent front office additions as well and some of the other positive things that have been done in recent months. This is an incredible opportunity and I am honored and thank God that I have been chosen to be the next coach of the Warriors. The Bay Area has always had some of the best fans in the NBA and I look forward to being a part of that incredible atmosphere at Oracle Arena, along with my wife, my kids and my church family, who are thrilled as well.”
Jackson, who will assume his new duties at the conclusion of the NBA Finals, appeared in 131 playoff games during his career, including 23 with the Indiana Pacers in 2000, when he was a member of the Eastern Conference Champions (played L.A. Lakers in the NBA Finals). Additionally, he led the NBA in assists during the 1996-97 campaign (11.4 apg).
Jackson will be introduced to the Bay Area media later this week.
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