Charlotte Bobcats hire Steve Clifford as head coach
The Charlotte Bobcats were in need of a new head coach and more talent on the roster. One of those goals has now been accomplished. The other will take more time.
Charlotte Bobcats President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins announced today that the team has named Steve Clifford Head Coach. Clifford, who has spent the last 13 seasons as an NBA assistant coach, becomes the sixth head coach in franchise history.
“We are excited to have Steve Clifford as our new head coach,” said Higgins. “He brings a strong pedigree and a track record of success to our franchise. He has built a reputation as an innovator, especially defensively, and has experience in multiple systems. We look forward to utilizing his knowledge as we continue to build this team.”
The Bobcats won just 21 games last season. The team has some talent in their backcourt, but their forward and center spots are in serious need of improvement. Coach Clifford will have his work cut out for him.
Clifford brings 28 years of coaching experience to the Bobcats. Last season, he served as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers, after spending the previous five seasons as an assistant coach for the Orlando Magic. As a member of Stan Van Gundy’s staff, he helped the Magic to a 259-135 record (.657) and five straight playoff appearances, including a trip to the 2009 NBA Finals. Before going to Orlando, Clifford spent four seasons with the Houston Rockets as an assistant coach to Jeff Van Gundy from 2003-07. He entered the NBA with the New York Knicks, serving as the team’s advance scout in 2000-01 and as an assistant coach from 2001-03. Dating back to his time in Houston, Clifford’s teams have made the playoffs in nine of the last 10 seasons.
Prior to the NBA, Clifford spent 15 years coaching at the collegiate level, including four years as head coach at Adelphi University in Garden City, New York. Clifford posted a record of 86-36 (.705) at Adelphi, leading the school to four straight 20-win seasons and four straight appearances in the NCAA Division II Tournament. His winning percentage remains the second best of the 12 head coaches in the program’s 65-year history.
Clifford began his college coaching career at St. Anselm’s College in New Hampshire, where he spent four seasons as an assistant coach. He then spent one year at Fairfield University, four seasons at Boston University and one season at Siena University before becoming the head coach at Adelphi from 1995-99. Clifford also spent one season as an assistant coach at East Carolina University in 1999-2000 before moving to the NBA.