Hawks announce assistant coaching staff
ATLANTA, GA -- (August 24, 2004) Atlanta Hawks General Manager Billy Knight today announced the hiring of Larry Drew, Herb Brown, Bob Bender, Greg Ballard and David Fizdale as assistant coaches on the staff of new head coach Mike Woodson.
"I'm very happy with the staff we have been able to assemble," said Woodson. "We have a lot of work ahead of us, and I expect a lot of work out of them. It is a great group that will work well together, bringing tremendous experience from different backgrounds to our team.
"While I have had the opportunity to work with Herb and Bob before (both at Philadelphia and with Herb in Detroit), Larry is a longtime friend who has put in the time as an assistant, and he is deserving of becoming a head coach real soon. Like me, Herb and Bob have learned a great deal from Larry Brown (current Pistons coach) and I'm delighted to have them with me in Atlanta. Greg has played the game, won a championship as a member of the (Washington) Bullets, and spent time recently as an assistant in Minnesota. We were very fortunate to get him. David Fizdale will be joining him in a player development role and we look forward to his contributions as well."
"Mike has assembled an experienced staff and we are extremely fortunate to have these guys join our organization," said Knight. "They will bring a lot of fresh ideas to the staff, and each possesses an outstanding knowledge of the game that will help our young team as we move forward."
Drew worked the past season for the New Jersey Nets after spending the previous three years with the Washington Wizards in a similar capacity (2000-03). Prior to that, the former NBA player re-joined one of the teams he previously played for, the Detroit Pistons, as an assistant coach in 1999-2000. Drew returned to Detroit for the first time since playing with the team as a NBA rookie with the Pistons in 1980-81. His coaching career began in 1992-93 when he broke into the ranks with another of his former teams, the Los Angeles Lakers, whom he played for from 1989-91.
A 10-year pro, Drew averaged 11.4 points and 5.2 assists in 714 career games for four NBA teams. After one season in Detroit, he played the next five years with the Kings, in Kansas City and Sacramento (1981-86), and his final four in Los Angeles (1986-91), for the Clippers and the Lakers. He was a teammate of Woodson and Knight in Kansas City (1983-84). Drew averaged 16.4 ppg, Woodson totaled 14.5 ppg and Knight added 12.8. In addition, Drew was a member of Scavolini of the Italian League in 1988-89.
A first round pick in the 1980 NBA Draft (17th overall selection), Drew participated in the playoffs four times in his career, scoring 3.1 points and dishing out 0.5 assists in 31 games. His most productive season as a player came during the 1982-83 campaign, when he averaged 20.1 ppg, 8.1 apg and 1.7 spg for Kansas City.
Brown and Woodson are reunited again after helping Herb's younger brother Larry Brown in coaching the Detroit Pistons to the NBA world championship in a surprising upset of the heavily-favored Los Angeles Lakers. He brings 40-plus years of basketball experience.
A former head coach himself, Brown served as the head man of the Pistons from 1976-78 and led them to two playoff appearances in 1976 and 1977, the only back-to-back playoff showing for Detroit prior to the Chuck Daly era that began in 1983. Brown's 1976 squad was the only Pistons team to advance past the first round of the playoffs before Daly's arrival. He also coached against his brother's Denver Nuggets team on nine occasions (Larry has the edge, 6-3).
In addition to his stay in Detroit, his assistant coaching stops have taken him to six other teams - the Houston Rockets, Phoenix Suns, Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls and the 2001 Eastern Conference Champion Philadelphia 76ers. He also served as a scout with the Milwaukee Bucks, Pacers, 76ers and Bulls, earning championship rings in 1982 and 1983. Brown also coached in the International Basketball League (IBL), World Basketball Association (WBA) and Continental Basketball Association (CBA), where he won two division titles, made four trips to the playoffs and was named Coach of the Year in the WBA and in the CBA with Puerto Rico in 1984.
Bender comes to the Hawks following two seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers. Promoted to assistant bench coach prior to last season, he started as an assistant coach/player development in 2002-03.
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 UW coaches for career victories. Bender directed the Huskies to four consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament from 1996 to 1999, a feat no other Washington head coach previously accomplished.
Bender began his head coaching career with a four-year tenure at Illinois State (1990-93) after spending six seasons as an assistant under Mike Krzyzewski at Duke (1983-89). The former Blue Devil has the distinction of being the only individual to play on two different teams in an NCAA Championship game. 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.
Ballard is a former NBA big man who won a league title in 1978 with the Washington Bullets. The former forward brings ten years of assistant coaching experience to the bench with the Hawks, joining Woodson's staff after nine seasons in Minnesota. He came to the Timberwolves from the Dallas Mavericks, where he also served as an assistant coach. Ballard had worked as an assistant scout for Burghy Roma of the Italian League before returning to the NBA to serve on Quinn Buckner's staff in Dallas. Ballard will serve in an assistant coach/player development position.
The fourth overall pick in the 1977 NBA Draft out of the University of Oregon, Ballard played eight seasons with the Bullets before he was traded to Golden State in June 1985. He spent two years with the Warriors before heading to Italy to serve as an assistant scout on the 1989-90 Il Messagero Roma team, which featured former NBA players Danny Ferry and Brian Shaw. He recorded a career high average of 18.8 points a game in the 1981-82 season with the Bullets, and totaled career numbers of 12.4 ppg and 6.1 rpg in 802 games. Ballard enjoyed seven years of playoff competition, six seasons with Washington, averaging 7.4 points and 5.0 rebounds.
Fizdale rounds out the group as the second assistant coach/player development member on Woodson's staff. He comes to Atlanta from the Golden State Warriors, where he worked in a similar role. Prior to joining the Warriors, Fizdale was a college assistant for five seasons.
In 2002-03, Fizdale worked as an assistant coach at Fresno State University, where his responsibilities included working with coaching and player development and serving as the team's recruiting coordinator.
Prior to joining the Bulldogs staff, he spent the previous four years as an assistant coach at his alma mater, the University of San Diego.
Photos, from top: Larry Drew, Herb Brown, Bob Bender, Greg Ballard, and David Fizdale.