Bobcats extend contract of coach Paul Silas

Charlotte Bobcats General Manager Rod Higgins announced today that the team has extended the contract of Paul Silas through the 2011-12 season and removed the interim tag, effective immediately.  Silas becomes the fourth head coach in team history.

Silas was named Interim Head Coach on Dec. 22 and has guided the Bobcats back into playoff contention with a 15-13 record, highlighted by a 109-89 win over the Lakers on Feb. 14, a franchise-record 22-point comeback on Feb. 12 at Atlanta, a 94-89 victory over defending Eastern Conference Champion Boston on Feb. 7 and a pair of wins over Chicago.

“This team has made great strides in the eight weeks since Paul has taken over,” Higgins said.  “Under his leadership we have seen our team play with confidence, enthusiasm and pride.  He and his staff have helped make our young players better and have gotten positive contributions out of every player on our roster.  Just as we were confident eight weeks ago that he was the right choice to lead this team for the remainder of this season, we are confident that he is the right choice to lead this club into the future.”

Currently in his 11th season as an NBA head coach, Silas has a career record of 370-413 with the Clippers (1980-83), Hornets (1999-2003), Cavaliers (2003-05) and Bobcats. He also spent 11 seasons as an assistant coach for the Hornets, Knicks, Nets and Suns.

During his four-plus seasons as head coach of the Hornets, Silas compiled a 208-155 (.573) record and led the team to the playoffs in each of his four full seasons.  He remains the team’s all-time leader in coaching wins and ranks second in winning percentage.  Silas was named interim head coach of the Hornets on March 7, 1999, and led the team to a 22-13 record over the final 35 games of the 1998-99 season after replacing Dave Cowens.

A 16-year NBA veteran, Silas averaged 9.4 points and 9.9 rebounds in 1,254 career games for the Hawks, Suns, Celtics, Nuggets and SuperSonics.  He was a two-time All-Star (1972 and 1975) and won three NBA Championships (1974 and 1976 with Boston and 1979 with Seattle).  Silas currently ranks 19th on the NBA’s career lists for rebounds (12,357) and games played (1,254).