The Atlanta Hawks announced today that Head Coach Larry Drew has added Kenny Atkinson to his staff as Assistant Coach/Player Development, and Bob Weiss as Assistant Coach/Consultant. They join Assistant Coaches Lester Conner and Bob Bender, and Player Development Instructor Nick Van Exel on the Hawks’ bench. In addition, Rick Sund has been named Senior Advisor, Basketball Operations, and Jeff Watkinson as Atlanta’s Strength and Conditioning Coach.
Atkinson comes to Atlanta after spending the last four years as an assistant with the New York Knicks where he helped the team reach the playoffs each of the last two seasons. Prior to joining the Knicks staff, he spent the 2007-08 campaign serving as the Director of Player Development for the Houston Rockets.
“Kenny has proven to be very successful in developing young players in this league, and his energy and enthusiasm are contagious,” Drew said. “We’re excited to add another dedicated and hard-working coach and teacher.”
Before starting his NBA coaching career, Atkinson spent three years as Director of Player Development/Assistant Coach for Paris Basket Racing Club in France (2004-06) and the summer of 2006 as Director of Player Development/Assistant Coach for the national team of the Republic of Georgia. He was also a Reebok EuroCamp Coach in Treviso, Italy during the summers of 2005-through-2010.
A standout collegiate player at the University of Richmond, Atkinson was an All-CAA First Team selection as a junior and senior (1989-90) and helped the Spiders to a Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 1988. He went on to play professionally in France, Germany and Spain from 1991-2004.
Weiss is a former head coach for the Hawks (1990-93), San Antonio (1986-88), LA Clippers (1993-94) and Seattle (2005-06), and also spent time as an assistant coach with the Buffalo Braves, Dallas, San Antonio and Orlando. In 2008, Weiss coached Shanxi Zhongyu in the Chinese Basketball Association.
“Bob has been involved with the NBA game a long time, and brings a wealth of experience,” Drew said. “I’m looking forward to the contributions he’ll make to our staff.”
The 22nd overall pick in the 1965 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, Weiss played 12 NBA seasons for the Sixers, Seattle, Milwaukee, Chicago, Buffalo and Washington, averaging 7.6 ppg in 783 regular season contests.
Sund has over 37 years of NBA experience, including the last four years as Atlanta’s Executive Vice President/GM. The Hawks posted a record of 184-128 under his leadership, reaching the playoffs in each of his four seasons, and advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals three times. He’s also spent time as an executive with Milwaukee, Dallas, Detroit and Seattle.
He was a two-sport athlete at Northwestern University, where in basketball (as a 6-4 guard) he earned CoSIDA Academic All-America (third team) honors in 1973, and was twice named academic All-Big Ten, while also seeing action as a tight end and wide receiver on the football team. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Northwestern.
Watkinson owned his own business for the last two years, working with NBA players on their strength, conditioning and basketball development. Formerly the strength and conditioning coach at Indiana University from 2006-10, he has held similar positions at Missouri, Clemson, Charlotte and College of Charleston.
The suburban Chicago native began his college studies in 1989 at Kishwaukee College in Illinois, earning an associate’s degree in pre-medicine. He then earned a baseball scholarship to North Carolina State, playing two years with the baseball team and graduating with a pre-medicine degree in 1993. Watkinson earned his master’s in exercise science from Indiana in 1996.