College - Duke
Entering his ninth season in Atlanta as an
assistant coach is Bob Bender.
He came to the Hawks following two seasons with
the Philadelphia 76ers. Bender joined the 76ers staff in 2002 after 13 years as
a college head coach and served as the Sixers' assistant coach/player
development for the 2002-03 season. He was promoted to assistant bench coach
prior to 2003-04.
The 1996 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, Bender
guided the University of Washington to a 116-142 record during his nine-year
tenure (1994-2001), a mark that ranks fourth all-time among Washington coaches
for career victories. He directed the Huskies to four consecutive trips to the
NCAA Tournament from 1996 to 1999, a feat no other Washington head coach
His 1998 squad, which featured former Sixers
center Todd MacCulloch, recorded a 20-10 (.667) record, posting the school's
finest winning percentage since 1985. Among their highlights that year was
Washington's first 20-win season since 1987, their first NCAA tourney berth
since 1986 and their first Sweet 16 appearance since 1984, falling in the final
second to UConn.
Bender began his head coaching career with a
four-year tenure at Illinois State (1990-93) where he was 60-57, earning two
Missouri Valley Conference championships, one conference tournament title and an
NCAA Tournament berth in 1990. He took home MVC Coach of the Year and Illinois
Collegiate Coach of the Year honors in 1992, as the Redbirds posted an 18-11
record overall and a 14-4 mark in league play to share the regular season crown.
Prior to his stint at Illinois State, Bender was
an assistant under Mike Krzyzewski at Duke (1983-89). The Blue Devils qualified
for the NCAA Tournament in each of Bender's six seasons on the staff, including
four trips to the Final Four. While at Duke, Bender coached former Blue Devil
and current Nets GM Billy King and later worked with him at Illinois State.
The Duke graduate (history, 1980) has the
distinction of being the only individual to play on two different teams in two
different NCAA Championship games. He was a freshman on Bob Knight's undefeated
1976 Indiana team and played point guard at Duke from 1977-80, including an
appearance in the 1978 title game against Kentucky. Bender was drafted by the
San Diego Clippers in the sixth round before his senior year, but did not play.
Bender, born April born April 28, 1957 in Quantico, Virginia, and his wife, Alice have two children, Mary Elizabeth and Robert Michael III.