Bulls add Harris, Bickerstaff and Ociepka; keep Myers on coaching staff
"You would be hard pressed to find a staff with the combined number of years experience that we have assembled," stated Head Coach Vinny Del Negro.
July 3, 2008 – The Chicago Bulls announced today that Del Harris, Bernie Bickerstaff and Bob Ociepka have been hired as assistant coaches on Vinny Del Negro’s coaching staff. In addition, Pete Myers will remain in his current role as assistant coach. In accordance with club policy, terms of the contracts were not announced.
“When I first accepted this position, I made it a top priority to surround myself with an experienced coaching staff. Now, with the hiring of Del Harris, Bernie Bickerstaff, Bob Ociepka and current assistant coach Pete Myers, you would be hard pressed to find a staff with the combined number of years experience that we have assembled,” stated Del Negro.
“I already have specific ideas on how to use their past experience in our efforts to get this team where we want it to be,” he added.
Harris, 71, comes to the Bulls after spending the last eight years with the Dallas Mavericks. Prior to spending last season as a team consultant, the Plainfield, Ind. native served seven seasons as an assistant coach under Don Nelson and Avery Johnson.
With more than 13-plus seasons of head coaching experience in the NBA, Harris owns a career record of 556-457 (.549) with the Houston Rockets (1979-83), Milwaukee Bucks (1987-1991) and the Los Angeles Lakers (1994-99). Some of his coaching highlights include leading his teams to the playoffs 11 times (38-50, .432), coaching the Rockets to the 1981 NBA Finals and winning the 1995 NBA Coach of the Year Award.
Bickerstaff, 64, spent last season as the Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Charlotte Bobcats. Prior to that, he served as the Bobcats Head Coach and General Manager during their first three years in the NBA (2004-07). Hailing from Benham, Ky., Bickerstaff owns more than 30 years of NBA experience, including 13-plus seasons as a head coach, going 415-517 (.445) during that span and 12-21 (.364) in the postseason.
In addition to the Bobcats, Bickerstaff was also head coach for the Seattle SuperSonics (1985-90), Denver Nuggets (1994-97) and Washington Bullets/Wizards (1997-99). He has coached his teams to the NBA playoffs five times and was named the 1987 NBA Coach of the Year while with Seattle.
Along the way, the Chicago native has had stops with the Indiana Pacers (1989-93), Los Angeles Clippers (1993-96), Philadelphia 76ers (1996-97), Cleveland Cavaliers (1999-2001), Detroit Pistons (1998-99, 2001-03), Milwaukee Bucks (2003-06) and the Timberwolves (2006-08). Ociepka was also an advance scout for the Orlando Magic during the 1997-98 campaign. After playing collegiately at Quincy College (Ill.), he made a name for himself on the Chicago prep scene as head coach at Gordon Tech and York High Schools. In May of 2000, he was inducted into the Chicago Catholic League Hall of Fame.
Myers, 44, will enter his ninth season with the organization and eighth as an assistant coach after joining the Bulls as a scout during the 2000-01 season. He served as Bulls interim head coach for two games (at Dallas 11/25/03 and at San Antonio 11/26/03) during the 2003-04 season and one game (at San Antonio 12/26/07) during the 2007-08 season. During his eight-year NBA career, he played for five teams, including three seasons with the Bulls (1986-87, 1993-95).