MEMPHIS, June 22, 2007 — Memphis Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace and Head Coach Marc Iavaroni announced today the hiring of Johnny Davis, Gordon Chiesa and David Joerger as assistant coaches.
“It's with great pride and anticipation that we are announcing the hiring of three exceptional assistant coaches,” said Iavaroni. “They bring a diversely successful set of experience, skills and teamwork that will form the backbone of our efforts to bring out the best in our players throughout the season and playoffs.”
With over 30 years of NBA experience, Davis joins the Grizzlies from the Indiana Pacers where he served as an assistant coach last season. Davis is a 17-year coaching veteran, having served as a head coach with the Philadelphia 76ers (1996-97) and the Orlando Magic (2003-04 - 2004-05), in addition to a combined 14 years of experience as an assistant with the Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, Portland Trail Blazers, New Jersey Nets, Orlando Magic and Minnesota Timberwolves. He also spent three years as director of community affairs and president of the Atlanta Hawks Foundation, as well as serving as the assistant to the president of the Hawks.
Selected in the second round (22nd overall) of the 1976 NBA Draft by Portland, he spent 10 years in the league with the Trial Blazers, Pacers, Hawks and Cavaliers. As a rookie, he was an integral part of Portland’s 1977 NBA World Championship team. Davis attended the University of Dayton, where he was inducted into the school’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.
A veteran of the NBA assistant coaching ranks, Chiesa comes to the Grizzlies after spending last season as an assistant coach with the Seattle SuperSonics. His resume also includes a brief stint with the New Jersey Nets and 16 years as an assistant with the Utah Jazz (1989-90 – 2004-05). During his tenure with the Jazz, Chiesa helped guide Utah to two Western Conference crowns, three Midwest Division championships, a record of 809-471 (.632) and 14 consecutive postseason appearances, including 149 overall playoff games.
Chiesa’s coaching career began on the collegiate level as athletic director and head basketball coach at his alma mater of St. Thomas Aquinas. He also served as an assistant coach at Dartmouth College, head coach at Manhattan College where he was named Metro Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1983, and as an assistant and head coach at Providence College.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to join the Grizzlies,” said Chiesa. “I have a lot of respect for the organization and I am excited to work with all of the young players.”
Joerger enters his first NBA coaching job as one of the most successful minor league basketball coaches in history. Last season he served as head coach of the 2006-07 NBA Development League Champion Dakota Wizards, becoming just the sixth head coach (15th coach) in D-League history to join the NBA coaching ranks.
His resume includes a D-League championship, an IBA and three CBA titles, two CBA Coach of the Year honors and a combined 232-117 career head coaching record with Dakota (2000-04, 06-07) and Sioux Falls (2004-06). In his first season with Sioux Falls, he led the Skyforce to his fourth championship, earning him the distinction of having more minor league championships than former minor league coaches Flip Saunders, Eric Musselman, Phil Jackson and George Karl combined.
"I am thrilled with this opportunity on both a professional and personal level,” said Joerger. “I am eager to begin my NBA coaching career with the Grizzlies, as the organizations commitment to winning matches the drive which helped me lead the Dakota Wizards to a D-League Championship. My family and I look forward to making Memphis our new home.”