Reno Bighorns Hire Paul Mokeski As New Head Coach


September 29, 2011

RENO, NEV.— The Reno Bighorns have announced the hiring of Paul Mokeski for their head coach position. Mokeski brings over 30 years of experience in professional basketball to the Bighorns as a coach and a player. Mokeski comes over from the Rio Grand Valley Vipers where he was an assistant coach. He helped guide the Vipers to the NBA D-League Finals the past two seasons including winning the NBA D-League Championship in 2010. The Vipers eliminated the Bighorns from the playoffs in both seasons.

“Coach Mokeski is the total package,” said Reno Bighorns owner Herb Santos, Jr. “He had a great career in the NBA as a player, he has coached at the collegiate, Olympic, NBA and NBA D-League levels and throughout his career he has shown his commitment to giving back to the communities he has lived in. He meets all of my requirements.”

A second round draft pick of the Houston Rockets in the 1979 NBA Draft, Mokeski played 12 years in the NBA with Houston, Detroit, Milwaukee and Golden State. Prior to his NBA career, he was a high school All American in 1975 and played basketball at the University of Kansas, where he was a two time All-Big Eight selection.

“I am honored and excited to be the next head coach of the Reno Bighorns,” said Mokeski. “I look forward to teaming up with the new local ownership group, led by Herb Santos Jr. and putting together a successful and entertaining team together both on and off the court.”

Mokeski’s coaching resume extends across many different levels of professional and collegiate basketball. He has been on coaching staffs in the NBA (Dallas Mavericks and Charlotte Bobcats), the NBA D-League (Fort Worth Flyers, Anaheim Arsenal, Rio Grand Valley Vipers), the NCAA (Stony Brook University, University of Southern California), the CBA (Hartford Hellcats) and the USBL (Connecticut Skyhawks). He was also a coach for the Jamaican Men’s National team and is currently the assistant coach and defensive coordinator for the Great Britain Men’s National Team.

“The competition for our head coaching position was very competitive,” said Santos, Jr. “In the end, Coach Mokeski is the best candidate to lead our team and help us reach our goals. He wants to continue our winning tradition, he wants to help make this franchise the best in the NBA D League, he wants to join the Bighorns in helping our community non-profit organizations, and finally, he wants to call Reno his home with his family.” With the Bighorns’ new emphasis on getting involved with the community, Mokeski is excited to add to his already active involvement in community work. He hosted a golf tournament for four years in Milwaukee where he raised over $250,000 for the Children’s Hospital. He has also worked with The Heart Association, Arthritis Association and is involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

“We are Reno's team,” said Mokeski. “When you see any of our players or staff off the court you will see that we are professional in everything we do.”

Bighorns’ fans will have an opportunity to meet Mokeski at the Flowing Tide Pub on Longley Lane on Friday, September 30 at noon. The previous coach of the Bighorns, Eric Musselman, was hired as head coach by the Los Angeles D-Fenders, the NBA D-League affiliate of the Los Angeles Lakers. Musselman will return to Reno when the D-Fenders play the Bighorns on Friday, January 6 at 7pm.

In August 2011, the Bighorns were purchased by Bighorns Basketball, LLC, a local ownership group led by Herb Santos, Jr., Stephen Adams and Jeffrey Adams. For the first time in the Bighorns history, the team is locally owned. The Bighorns’ office and practice facility will be located at the South Reno Athletic Club. The team has practiced at the facility for the past three seasons.

The Bighorns tip off their regular season on the road on Friday, Nov. 25, when the team visits the Bakersfield Jam. The team will return to Reno to host its first home game of the season against Bakersfield at the Reno Events Center on Friday, Dec. 2 at 7pm. The Bighorns experienced many first-time accomplishments last season including their first Western Conference Championship, their first call-ups, their first playoff series victory, and their first sell-out crowd on Opening Night. The team will look to gain momentum from the 2010-2011 in which they won a franchise-best 34 games.

The Sacramento Kings will retain its Bighorns affiliation for the fourth consecutive season and will be joined by the Atlanta Hawks and Memphis Grizzlies as parent clubs.

Season and group tickets are on sale today. Fans can get more information by calling (775) 284-2NBA or by visiting ###