Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars announced today that the team has named John Kuester as head coach, signing him to a multi-year contract. Per club policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
“We are pleased to name John Kuester as the head coach of the Detroit Pistons,” said Dumars. “John brings a wealth of NBA knowledge as a long-time assistant coach, including championship experience as an assistant coach with our club in 2004. He is a coach that our veteran players know well, and I feel he has the teaching ability to allow our younger players to grow and develop.”
Kuester, 54, has spent over 13 years in the NBA as an assistant coach with six different franchises (Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, New Jersey, Orlando and Cleveland). During his tenure as an assistant coach, Kuester has helped guide two teams to the NBA Finals [Philadelphia (2001); Detroit (2004)] and played a major role in helping Cleveland reach the Eastern Conference Finals this past season.
For seven seasons (1990-1997), the Richmond, Virginia native was a member of the Boston Celtics organization, serving as assistant coach his final two years. He joined Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown in 1997 and helped guide the Philadelphia 76ers to the playoffs in five of his six seasons with the club, including an NBA Finals appearance in 2001. The North Carolina graduate followed Brown to Detroit where the organization won its third NBA Championship, and then joined the New Jersey Nets staff in 2004-05. Kuester returned to Philadelphia for the 2005-06 season, landed in Orlando in 2006-07 and has helped mold the offensive philosophies for the Cleveland Cavaliers since August of 2007.
Prior to joining the NBA ranks, Kuester served five seasons as head coach at George Washington University from 1985-1990. He became the youngest head coach in NCAA Division I college basketball in 1983 when he succeeded Rick Pitino at Boston University. He was an assistant coach for the Terriers for two seasons prior to his head coaching appointment.
As a collegiate player for four seasons at North Carolina (1973-77) under legendary coach Dean Smith, he helped the Tar Hells win two ACC Championships, make three NCAA Tournament berths and one NIT berth. As a senior, he was voted as the team’s best defensive player for the second straight season and was named Most Valuable Player of the ACC Tournament and NCAA East Regionals. That 1977 squad went on to the NCAA Final Four and an appearance in the championship game.
Kuester was selected in the third round (53rd overall) of the 1977 NBA Draft by the Kansas City Kings. He played three seasons in the NBA, one each with Kansas City, Denver and Indiana.