Hornets fire coach Byron Scott, replace him with GM Jeff Bower

The New Orleans Hornets announced today that they have relieved Byron Scott of head coaching duties. Scott will be replaced by General Manager Jeff Bower.

“I want to thank Byron for the hard work he has put in during his time with the Hornets,” said Hornets Owner George Shinn. “I’ve hired Jeff Bower to take over the coaching reign. He knows this team better than anyone, has the respect of the players and in basketball circles, is regarded as one of the best basketball minds in the business. This is our best opportunity to reach our goals this season.”

Bower, who has spent his 14-plus seasons with the club, has been an invaluable asset for the Hornets at all levels in basketball operations.  He began his tenure with the Hornets as an advance scout from 1995 to 1997 before earning a promotion as the team’s director of scouting.  In addition to his scouting duties during the 1998-99 season, Bower joined the coaching ranks as an assistant after Paul Silas was named interim head coach on March 7, 1999 (and helped him lead the Hornets to a 22-13 record).  After serving as the assistant general manager for the 2000-01 season, Bower was promoted to general manager in June of 2001 and has since held that position.  He returned to the bench as an assistant coach under Floyd in 2003-04. Bower’s years of experience working at all levels in the Hornets’ basketball operations department culminated with his appointment to the current post of general manager just prior to the start of the team’s 2005-06 training camp.

“Accountability was our theme this past summer,” said Hornets Vice President of Basketball Chad Shinn. “We talked about the fact that everyone on our staff is held to a certain standard of performance and we didn’t feel this was happening at the head coach level. We feel like we still have an opportunity with our nucleus to get to where we want and Jeff is the right guy, right now to move us in that direction from the bench.”

“As we look at our long-term coaching plans, it’s not about who the head coach is, it’s about the role of the head coach to get the team to perform to their capabilities and reaching our potential this season,” said Bower.

Prior to joining the Hornets, Bower enjoyed an impressive career at the collegiate level.  He spent three years as an assistant coach at Penn State University from 1983-86 before moving to Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.  After first serving as an assistant coach from 1986 through 1990, he was promoted to associate head coach, a position he held for five years.  Bower helped lead the Red Foxes to an NCAA Tournament appearance in 1987 after winning the Northeast Conference.

In a related move, Tim Floyd has been hired as the top assistant coach.

Floyd served as head coach of the Hornets for the 2003-04 season, leading the team to a 41-41 record. Most recently, Floyd served as the head coach at USC from 2005-2009, leading the Trojans to a 85-49 mark and three NCAA appearances during his tenure. In the 2007 NCAA Tournament, Floyd led USC to a Sweet 16 appearance. The team’s 25-12 record that season set a record for most wins in school history. The Trojans advanced to the second round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament before falling to eventual runner-up Michigan State. Floyd also coached for the Chicago Bulls, Iowa State, the University of Idaho and Texas-El Paso. Floyd is a native of Hattiesburg, Miss., and a 1977 graduate of Louisiana Tech.

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