Bulls Name Vinny Del Negro Head Coach
"My efforts are going to be geared specifically toward getting the best out of each player – whatever their particular strengths may be that make them most successful," said Del Negro.
June 11, 2008 – The Chicago Bulls announced today the hiring of Vinny Del Negro as the 17th head coach in franchise history. In accordance with club policy, terms of the contract were not announced.
Del Negro, 41, comes to the Bulls after serving as the Assistant General Manager for the Phoenix Suns. Prior to his promotion to Assistant General Manager, he served as the team’s Director of Player Personnel. Before making the transition to the Suns front office, Del Negro spent three seasons (2003-06) as a color analyst for the Suns broadcast teams. He has also served as an analyst for ESPN and the San Antonio Spurs.
“I am very pleased to name Vinny Del Negro as the next head coach of the Chicago Bulls. I have gone through the process of talking to many people since the season ended which has allowed me to hear the basketball philosophies of different candidates, and I felt very good about many of the interviews,” said Chicago Bulls Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson.
“Vinny distinguished himself from the group and I feel I have been able to identify a person who has the strong ability to lead, communicate and bring a fresh, energized approach to our young basketball team," he added. "Vinny will be able to draw from his experiences in basketball as a player, scout and executive, and I am confident that he will be successful in this new role.”
Selected by the Sacramento Kings in the second round (29th overall) of the 1988 NBA Draft, Del Negro went on to play 14 seasons, including 12 in the NBA. During his time in the NBA, he played for five teams: Sacramento, San Antonio, Milwaukee, Golden State and Phoenix. In 771 regular season games, he averaged 9.1 ppg, 3.2 apg and 2.3 rpg in 24.9 mpg. A member of seven playoff teams during his NBA playing days, he appeared in 54 playoff contests and averaged 8.8 ppg, 2.8 apg and 2.2 rpg in 25.3 mpg.
Del Negro also spent two seasons in Italy (1990-92), where he played for Benetton Treviso of the Italian A1 League. While in Treviso, he starred with former Bull Toni Kukoc to lead the team to its first Italian league championship in 1992, and earned playoff MVP honors during the club’s title run.
“I really appreciate both Jerry and John’s confidence and support throughout this entire process. Having played 14 years at the professional level and several more as an executive in the front office, I am looking forward to this opportunity and the challenges that lie ahead as head coach of the Bulls,” said Del Negro.
“There are a lot of things to like about this young Bulls team," he added. "My efforts are going to be geared specifically toward getting the best out of each player – whatever their particular strengths may be that make them most successful. As a guard in this league, I always felt that I was that extension of the coach. Everyone I have talked to has expressed to me that they felt the Bulls are a great organization, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.”
During a successful collegiate career at North Carolina State, Del Negro played under legendary coach Jim Valvano and helped lead his team to the NCAA Tournament four times. While with the Wolfpack, he averaged 9.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg and 2.6 apg. As a senior, he averaged 15.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg and 3.6 apg and shot .515 from the field and .839 from the line, en route to All-ACC First Team honors.
A native of Springfield, Mass., he is married to his wife Lynn, whom he met at North Carolina State.