Vipers Tap Chris Finch as New Head Coach

Center: New Vipers Head Coach Chris Finch as an Assistant Coach for the Dallas Mavericks during NBA Summer League 2009 presented by EA Sports (Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images)

September 29, 2009

MCALLEN, TEXAS - The NBA D-League Rio Grande Valley Vipers and the NBA Houston Rockets announced today that Chris Finch, who will lead Great Britain National Team in the 2012 Olympics in London, is the new head coach of the Vipers.

The Vipers will introduce Finch after he wraps up his obligations in Europe in a press conference on Wednesday, October 7 at a time and location to be announced.

“We are very excited to have Chris on board as the Vipers organization enters a new era as partners with the Rockets. The Rockets have worked very hard this off-season towards building components for the Vipers’ on-court success in 2009-10, and this selection is indicative of those efforts,” Vipers President/GM Brian Michael Cooper said.

Finch began building the British National Team in May 2006 after more than 15 years of dormancy. The team won FIBA’s 2007 Division B Promotional Competition and Qualified for the 2009 European Championships for the first time since 1981. Finch has coached four NBA players during his tenure, including recently signed Houston Rockets forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu. He also has experience coaching NBA players as an assistant coach for the Dallas Mavericks during the 2009 Las Vegas NBA Summer League presented by EA Sports and associated mini-camp.

“Chris is a young, up-and-coming coach who already has a wealth of coaching experience. Chris has been instrumental in the re-building of Great Britain's fledgling national team program and I believe he will employ that same passion and commitment to elevating the level of Vipers basketball. We will work closely with Chris to ensure that the Vipers implement the same successful philosophies employed by the Rockets,” Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey said.

Finch has been a head coach of teams in England, Germany and Belgium since 1997, compiling a career-record of 380-178 (68.1%). His teams have qualified for the playoffs in 11-of-12 seasons while finishing first or second in the regular season nine times. The four-time Coach of the Year has seven championships on his resume. Last year, Finch and Dexia Mons-Hainaut finished as the Championship Runner-Up. He was also selected as FIBA EuroCup All-Star head coach.

The Pennsylvania native graduated in 1992 as a two-time All-American at Franklin and Marshall College.

Finch becomes the third head coach of the Vipers, replacing Clay Moser, who had a record of 21-29 in his lone season.

“Clay was a consummate professional on and off the court, and we thank him for his service to the organization,” Cooper said.

The Rio Grande Valley Vipers are the NBA Development League (NBA D-League) of the NBA Houston Rockets. The NBA Development League, founded in 2001, is the NBA’s official minor league and featured 16 teams with direct affiliations to NBA teams during the 2008-09 season. This fall, two new NBA D-League teams will begin play in Portland, Maine and Springfield, Mass.-- the birthplace of basketball. Eighty-four former NBA Development League players were on 2008-09 NBA end-of-season rosters, amounting to almost 20 percent of NBA players, and the league continues to develop coaches, referees, and front office staff for the NBA and its teams. In fostering the league’s connection to the community, its teams, players and staff promote health and wellness, support local needs and interests, and assist in educational development through NBA D-League Cares programs. The NBA D-League also advances the game of basketball as the research and development arm of the NBA. Throughout the season fans can watch all NBA D-League games on NBA Futurecast, the free live Web-streaming initiative found at nba.com/futurecast.