The Detroit Pistons announced today that the team has named Jon Phelps as general manager and Rex Walters as head coach of the Grand Rapids Drive - the NBA D-League affiliate of the Detroit Pistons.
“We’re fortunate to be able to fill these two positions with guys we feel very comfortable with,” said Stan Van Gundy, president of basketball operations and head coach of the Detroit Pistons. “Jon was in Grand Rapids with the Drive the last two years so there’s familiarity and continuity there. We’re confident he will continue to do a good job and transition well into this new role. “Rex Walters brings a wealth of basketball knowledge and experience and has a passion for developing young players. He’s spent some time with us here and already has a good understanding of how we operate. We look forward to working with both of them.”
Phelps spent the last two seasons as director of basketball operations with the Drive. Previously, he was an attorney at a civil litigation firm in New Orleans, LA. Phelps attended Tulane University School of Law, earning his J.D. in 2012 with a certification in sports law. While there, he was a research assistant for Professor Gabe Feldman, a renowned expert in sports law. As part of that experience, Phelps spent time extensively studying the collective bargaining agreements of both the NBA and NFL.
A 2004 graduate of Siena College with a degree in English, Phelps served as a student manager for the men’s basketball team and, after graduating, spent one season as director of basketball operations for the Saints.
Walters spent the last eight seasons as head coach of the men’s basketball team at the University of San Francisco where he guided the Dons to two 20-win seasons and two postseason appearances. USF finished in the top three of the West Coast Conference twice in the last six years, including 2013-14, when they tied for second with a 13-5 conference mark. During the 2013-14 season, the team finished with a 21-12 record, tied for second in the WCC with a 13-5 mark and earned a bid to the National Invitation Tournament. The 21 victories marked the Dons’ highest win total since the 1981-82 team posted a 25-6 record while their 13 conference victories were the most since the 1976-77 team went 14-0 in league play while spending most of the season ranked No. 1 in the nation.
Walters, a native of Omaha, NE., was named West Coast Conference Coach of the Year in 2013-14, becoming the first USF coach to win the award since Pete Barry in 1980-81. Walters amassed a 126-125 record at USF. Prior to becoming head coach at USF, he served two seasons (2006-08) as head coach at Florida Atlantic University and posted a 31-33 record. Overall, Walters is 157-158 (.498) as a collegiate head coach.