Timberwolves name Fred Hoiberg, Rob Babcock assistant general managers, add Bob Ociepka as assistant coach
Minnesota Timberwolves Vice President of Basketball Operations Kevin McHale today announced Fred Hoiberg and Rob Babcock have been named assistant general managers. Additionally, Bob Ociepka has been hired as an assistant coach on Dwane Casey's staff, and Dave Vitel has joined the team's training staff as the new strength and conditioning coach. Per team policy, terms of any of the contracts were not disclosed.
"We're excited to have both Fred and Rob join our staff in an official capacity," said McHale. "For Fred, he is doing a tremendous job in transitioning from being a player to a front office executive. Hopefully, he will continue to grow and learn in this new role. Rob is someone who is very knowledgeable about the NBA, and has been here before so he knows what we do. Both of them were a great help in our preparations for this year's draft."
"Bob Ociepka is one of the most respected assistant coaches in the NBA," McHale added. "He has been an NBA assistant coach for 17 years. Both Dwane and myself believe that his experience will only strengthen our coaching staff. Additionally, it's great to have Dave Vitel join the Timberwolves family. His expertise in the field will make for a nice addition to our training staff."
As assistant general managers, Hoiberg and Babcock will be heavily involved in the Timberwolves draft and scouting efforts, both at the collegiate and NBA level. Hoiberg retired from the NBA on April 17, 2006 after a 10-year playing career, the last two seasons as a member of the Timberwolves (2003-04 and 2004-05). The 33-year-old underwent successful heart surgery on June 28, 2005 to correct an enlarged aortic root and did not play during the 2005-06 campaign. Immediately after announcing his retirement and without a job specific title, Hoiberg joined the Wolves front office.
In 10 NBA seasons with Indiana (1995-96 - 1998-99) Chicago (1999-2000 - 2002-03) and Minnesota (2003-04 and 2004-05), Hoiberg tallied 5.4 points (.431 FG%, .854 FT%, .396 3FG%), 2.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 18.4 minutes per game in 541 contests (61 started). The Iowa State University product was originally selected in the second round (52nd overall) by the Pacers in the 1995 NBA Draft.
Babcock, who has 19 years of NBA management experience, returns to the Timberwolves after spending the past two seasons as the general manager of the Toronto Raptors. He spent 12 years with Minnesota during his first stint with the team, the final two seasons as vice president of player personnel. Babcock served as the team's director of player personnel from 1994-2002, and two seasons (1992-94) as a scout. Babcock joined the NBA in 1987 as the director of scouting for the Denver Nuggets, where he spent five seasons before joining the Wolves. He has also held part-time scouting positions with the Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers, San Diego Clippers and Indiana Pacers before his stint with Denver.
Ociepka brings more than 30 years of coaching experience to the Timberwolves staff, including 17 years as an NBA assistant coach. A native of Chicago, Ociepka has spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks. His NBA coaching career has included stops with the Indiana Pacers (1989-1993), Los Angeles Clippers (1993-96), Philadelphia 76ers (1996-97), Cleveland Cavaliers (1999-2001) and the Detroit Pistons (1998-99, 2001-03). He also served as the Orlando Magic's advance scout during the 1997-98 campaign. While beginning his NBA career as a part-time volunteer scout for Detroit in the 1980s, Ociepka was one of the Chicago area's most respected prep coaches at Gordon Tech and York High Schools. On May 4, 2000, his coaching efforts were recognized as he was inducted into the Chicago Catholic League Hall of Fame.
As the strength and conditioning coach of the Timberwolves, Vitel is responsible for developing and implementing individualized training programs for each of the Timberwolves players. Vitel joins the Wolves training staff after serving the past five years as the head strength and conditioning coach at Loyola University Chicago. In that capacity, he was responsible for improving student athletes' individual athletic performance with specific training regimens as well as overseeing all 15 of Loyola's varsity athletic teams in their use of the weight room. Vitel has trained professional athletes in the NBA, including multiple first-round and second-round NBA Draft picks, NFL and Major League Soccer. The Elgin, Ill. native has also previously worked for the Chicago Bulls and University of Arizona.